According to the Toronto Sun, approximately 33 out of every 100,000 Canadians aged 65 and over commit suicide each year. If you suspect your elderly loved one is at risk for suicide, get help for him or her as soon as possible. Caledon, ON, live-in home care experts recommend watching for these early warning signs.
1. Stopping Medical Regimens
Seniors who feel hopeless may no longer see the need to take medications or follow special diets to prolong their lives. If you notice extra pills in your loved one’s cabinet or receive a notice from his or her doctor of a missed appointment, talk with your loved one and the doctor about a possible depression diagnosis and treatment.
2. Losing Interest in Activities and Hobbies
You may notice your loved one no longer enjoys reading, gardening, or exercising at the same level as he or she has in the past. Depression is a major cause of suicide in seniors, and a disinterest in former hobbies is often an indicator of depression. Try to determine if your loved one has a valid reason for no longer participating in hobbies. For instance, pain from arthritis may make it too difficult to do a hobby that involves using the hands. If the change in interest is because of depression, find a therapist who specializes in elderly mental health.
3. Ignoring Grooming and Self-Care
Seniors who are contemplating ending their lives may no longer see the importance of bathing, brushing their teeth, and combing their hair. Showing deep concern can help your loved one realize how important he or she is to other people and encourage him or her to practice better self-care.
4. Making Sudden Final Life Preparations
Though many seniors make end-of-life preparations before they pass away, a sudden interest in changing a will, giving items away, or making funeral arrangements may mean your loved one needs help. Limiting access to lethal weapons and decreasing or eliminating the use of sedatives can stop the plans your loved one has to end his or her life, allowing time to get the help he or she needs.
5. Experiencing a Significant Loss
If your loved one has recently lost or is expecting to lose a spouse, significant other, or close friend, he or she may mention no longer wanting to live without that person. Talk with other family members to make them aware of the situation. The more people who know about the problem, the greater likelihood there is of your loved one receiving calls, visits, and notes of concern and love, decreasing the chance of suicide.
Help your loved one get the emotional support he or she needs by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. Our compassionate caregivers are available 24/7 to provide regular companionship and social stimulation, and they can also assist with grooming and other daily tasks. For more information on the elder home care Caledon, ON, seniors and their families trust, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 905-951-8885 today.