According to an Australian statistics study conducted in 2014, males over 85 years have one of the highest suicide rates in Australia. However, due to ageism prevalent in our society and a lack of community supports, this demographic is often forgotten in the fight against suicide.
Life events commonly associated with elderly suicide include the death of a loved one, physical and mental illness, cognitive impairment, unmanageable pain, fear of dying, loneliness and major changes in roles, such as retirement.
Social isolation or lack of social supports has been found to be a contributing factor in the lives of some elderly men, leading to a decline in life skills, poor eating habits and even substance abuse.
After retirement, a significant number of men feel a sense of “worthlessness” or “hopelessness” leading to feelings of depression or overwhelming anxiety. Historically, older men have often been conditioned not to acknowledge their feelings from as far back as their childhood and therefore see no way of expressing their fears. They are often afraid of being a “burden” to others.
Social groups are a great way to remain socially active and can help to encourage older men to get together with others with similar interests. Groups provide an opportunity to participate in age-related programs including health and physical activity, cognitive stimulation, emotional wellbeing and a wide variety of social inclusion programs, as well as getting together for meals.
Mentis Assist’s Access and Support Worker can assist with accessing local services in your area to support your needs including specialised Planned Activity Groups (PAG).
Mentis Assist is a strong advocate for the mental wellbeing of older people, recently receiving the Age Friendly Local Business Award at the Mornington Peninsula Delys Sargeant Age-Friendly Awards for its contributions towards creating a supportive community for older people on the Mornington Peninsula.