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Home / Health / Seniors struggle with suicide as loneliness and isolation Set In: NPR

Seniors struggle with suicide as loneliness and isolation Set In: NPR



Sheri Adler at an American Behavioral Systems office in Wenatchee, Washington. At the age of 72, Adler tried to kill himself.

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Sheri Adler at an American Behavioral Systems office in Wenatchee, Washington. At the age of 72, Adler tried to kill himself.

Jovelle Tamayo for NPR

Dr. Julie Rickard believed that her visit to Wisconsin over the Christmas break would be a break from her daily work in suicide prevention in Wenatchee, Washington.

The visit did not go as planned. After a tense argument broke out between her mother and another member of the family, everyone dispersed. Rickard was preparing for the return trip to the Pacific Northwest.

At the airport, she received a call from her mother, Sheri Adler. That was not unusual – Adler, like many revered mothers, always calls her daughter after saying goodbye.

Adler wanted to tell her daughter on the phone how much she loved and loved her.

"Usually I would think," Oh, that's a sign of suicide, "but it was during my stopover," says Rickard. "I had just left her, and all her life she had always cried when I left and always said I love you."

This time it was different. "This time," says Rickard, "it was goodbye."

When the plane landed, Rickard received another call. Her mother had tried to kill herself at the age of 72.

"I went home and I think I just did not know how to handle it," Adler says about the suicide attempt. "It was more than I could put together … I just made a stupid mistake, I think I just wanted to give up because I did not feel like a good mother and that was all I ever wanted to be." [19659016] The American Behavioral Health Facility in Wenatchee, Washington, offers suicidal-safe features and positive images of the Pacific Northwest to motivate patients.

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The American Behavioral Healthcare Facility in Wenatchee, Washington, offers suicidal-safe features and positive images of the Pacific Northwest to motivate patients.

Jovelle Tamayo for NPR

Since the January attempt, Rickard has helped her mother find care. Adler now takes medication and meets with a therapist for depression and helps to deal with family problems. Both say she's feeling better.

Nonetheless, the episode reflects the vulnerability of a group that researchers refer to as a "forgotten" population, especially in terms of mental health: seniors.

The risk among seniors

Left: Dr. med. Julie Rickard and her mother Sheri Adler. Right: Rickard shows suicidal characteristics on July 23 at an American Behavioral Health Systems facility in Wenatchee, Washington.

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Left: Dr. Julie Rickard and her mother Sheri Adler. Right: Rickard shows suicidal security features on July 23 at an American Behavioral Health Systems facility in Wenatchee, Washington.

Jovelle Tamayo for NPR

Suicide rates have risen across the country, and this increase has hit the nation's seniors hardest. Of the more than 47,000 suicides in 2017, more than 8,500 have gone to 65 and over, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men over the age of 65 are at the highest risk of suicide, while adults aged 85 and over die sexually second only to suicide.

According to the US Census Bureau, there were 47.8 million people in the US from 2015 over 65 years old. By 2060, it is expected to be 98.2 million.

Do not you see the above graphic? Click here.

This concerns mental health professionals such as Drs. Jerry Reed, who is responsible for the prevention of suicide, violence and injuries at the nonprofit Education Development Center.

"It's likely we have a problem Now we might have a problem in the future if we're not careful," says Reed.

Experts like Reed say seniors are far more likely to die in a suicide attempt than those who are younger.

A kitchen with positive and reassuring images on American Behavioral Health Systems.

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A kitchen with positive and reassuring images on American Behavioral Health Systems.

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Research has shown that one in four seniors who commit suicide dies, compared to one in 200 attempts in young adults. While the exact reasons for these numbers remain unclear, experts suggest that seniors are more frail and therefore more susceptible to self-inflicted injuries. They can also be more isolated, which makes the rescue more difficult and may even plan their attempts more carefully.

Why Senior Citizens Are at Risk

There are countless reasons why older adults are more prone to the country's 10 most common cause of death .

One of the most common is loneliness. Older adults often live in isolation and may suffer from the death of a lifelong husband or lifelong wife, or the mourning of losing close relatives or friends .

Research has shown that grief "is disproportionately common in older adults" and often causes physical or mental illnesses such as "severe depression and complicated grief." For children, who are often far from home, parents and grandparents can be miles away, and the craving for love and human connection brings with it the most difficult transitions to be made. About 80% of older adults suffer from a chronic disease – such as arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure – and 77% suffer from at least two, according to the National Council on Aging.

Seniors lose the ability to accomplish once in a lifetime Routine daily tasks can lead to depression. Physical discomfort can interfere with the ability of a senior citizen to drive, read, entertain, or engage in other activities that allow a person to remain independent or to find meaning in life, and if you are not prepared for that transition, you tend to do so Recognizing single behaviors that marginalize you or set you apart from others, "says Reed.

For Adler, it was a combination of factors that made her want to end her life, living more than 1,500 miles away from her daughter referred to as her best friend, and that distance, she says, and the isolation that went with it proved difficult.

"It helps to be with other people … if it's [my daughter is] so far away is, it just seems hopeless, "Adler says," and I did something stupid … I just could not take it anymore. "

Rickard, a psychologist, thinks that ith Her mental health after a stroke was negative when her mother lost the ability to read books Afflicted and she lost part of her identity.

After a flood of suicides in nearby senior citizen communities, Dr. Julie Rickard 2012 Suicide Prevention Coalition of the State of North Central Washington.

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After a flood of suicides in nearby senior communities, Dr. Julie Rickard 2012 Suicide Prevention Coalition of the State of North Central Washington.

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Adler also says that as an older person she sometimes feels stigmatized – she says people avoid talking to her and do not want to get involved. Getting older in America can be "very difficult," she says. "People do not talk to you."

Knowing What to Look for

Suicide investigations in the elderly are sparse, meaning that relatives and caregivers often do nothing from the warning signals. However, experts say that there are certain behaviors that should be considered as red flags. These include stockpiling medicines, the rush to revise a will, the increasing consumption of alcohol or drugs, changing sleep habits, sharing hopelessness, and social withdrawal.

Julie Rickard shows one of the wildlife images hung up in the American Behavioral Health Systems facility to encourage patients.

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Julie Rickard shows one of the wildlife images hung in the American Behavioral Health Systems facility to encourage patients.

Jovelle Tamayo for NPR

After a flood of suicides in nearby senior communities, Rickard founded the Suicide Prevention Coalition of the state of North Central Washington in 2012. The work of the coalition has helped to reduce the number of suicides in the region.

Rickard now works as Program Director at American Behavioral Health Systems, a provider of drug abuse treatment services. She heads one of the country's only pilot projects to alert physicians and residents in long-term care to the signs of suicide.

Rickard believes that through mental contact, medical and psychiatric help, exercise, physical well-being, regular family visits and hydration, seniors can improve their mental health.

A bed designed to prevent suicide in American behavioral health systems.

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A bed for suicide prevention at American Behavioral Health Systems.

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"There is often the belief that it is a normal part of aging for people to feel bad or suffer a loss, or to have much death and grief, and simply not to recover from their depression when in Unfortunately, says Rickard, seniors often stay behind in America, and when we treat them, they do not feel like they are swimming in the middle of the ocean. Englisch: www.germnews.de/archive/gn/1999/11/22.html The ocean without a lifesaver, "says Rickard.

As for her own mother, she hopes that she now realizes that there is nothing she could ever do to be a "burden" to her. "It's a gift for me when she asks for help or I'm there for her or just spending time with her," says Rickard. "And I hope that millions of people in this message will learn that they are not a burden either."

If you or anyone you know considers suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting on HOME to 741741.

This story was written by Samantha Balaban and Evie Stone produced and processed for broadcast.


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