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Who are senior citizens? 60-105 years of age 40 year age cohort Still-working / retired - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Who are senior citizens? 60-105 years of age 40 year age cohort Still-working / retired Active / frail – at risk Caregiving for grandchildren/great grandchildren Caregiving for spouse/parent/ friend/other family A very varied population. Demographic imperative in USA

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Who are senior citizens?

  • 60-105 years of age

  • 40 year age cohort

  • Still-working / retired

  • Active / frail – at risk

  • Caregiving for grandchildren/great grandchildren

  • Caregiving for spouse/parent/ friend/other family

  • A very varied population

Demographic imperative in USA

  • Baby boomer population

    Impacts on ALL aspects of community life

  • Financial/economic

  • Housing

  • Transportation

  • Family

  • Caregiving

Highest suicide rate among older Americans

  • 19% of suicides are elderly while seniors are 13% of the total population

    Startling Facts

  • One elder suicide every 90 minutes in USA

  • Those between 80 and 85 have 2X the overall rate

  • Suicide highest among those widowed or divorced

  • 75% of elderly have visited a health professional within 1 month of suicide (41% within 1 week and 20% within 24 hours)


  • Attempts per suicide, all populations: 25

  • 24 and younger: 200

  • Elderly: 4

  • Older persons contemplating suicides are much more likely to act and to use a lethal weapon.

    A final fact

  • Older Men commit 81% of suicides within the elderly population.

Factors Affecting Elder Suicide

  • Depression

  • Living longer with chronic diseases

  • PAIN

  • Social isolation

  • Substance abuse

  • Widowed. Divorced status

  • Available means – firearms in the home

  • Role of caregiver

Caregiver Stress

  • Who is a caregiver?

    • Anyone who provides help to another person in need

    • Informal and family caregivers provide 80-85% of care

    • Needs can include: grocery shopping, cooking, housekeeping, transportation, bathing, giving medicine, dressing, toileting, bill paying, eating

    • Most Americans will be caregivers at some point in their lives. In any year, 44 million Americans or 21% of adult population are caregivers.

Who are Caregivers?

  • 61% of caregivers are women

  • Most caregivers are middle aged

  • 13% are aged 65 years and older

  • 59% of caregivers have jobs in addition. And half of these have adjusted their work schedules to accommodate their caregiving duties.

What is Caregiver Stress?

  • Caregiver stress is the emotional and physical strain of caregiving.

    • Guilt

    • Helplessness

    • Frustration

    • Anger

Caregiving can be rewarding

  • Gives you a sense of giving back to your loved one

  • Makes you feel needed

  • Helps you to appreciate life

  • Helps to make one feel good about oneself

Caregiving can affect a person’s health

  • More likely to have symptoms of depression & anxiety

  • More likely to have long-term medical problems, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes or arthritis

  • Spend more days sick with an infectious disease

  • Weaker immune system, weaker response to flu…

  • Higher levels of obesity

  • Higher risk for mental decline, including problems with memory and paying attention

  • Study found that elders who felt stressed while caregiving were 63% more likelyto DIE within 4 years, compared with those who were not feeling stressed.


Health effects of caregiving

Women caregivers, compared with women who are not caregivers, are less likely to:

  • Get needed medical care

  • Fill a prescription because of the cost

  • Get a mammogram

    Caregivers report that, compared with the time before they became caregivers, that they are less likely to:

  • Get enough sleep

  • Cook healthy meals

  • Get enough physical activity

Warning Signs of too much stress

  • Feeling overwhelmed/cannot cope anymore

  • Sleeping too little or too much

  • Eat, smoke or drink more

  • Feeling tired most of the time

  • Loss of interest in activities one used to enjoy

  • More easily upset, angered or irritated

  • Feeling constantly worried

  • Often feeling sad

  • Frequent headaches, body pain or other physical problems

How to relieve or prevent caregiver stress

  • Take Care of yourself. Every week – every DAY.

  • Ask for and ACCEPT help – TAKE A BREAK: time off/respite.

  • Find out about caregiver resources – get informed.

  • Don’t feel guilty about not being the ‘perfect’ caregiver.

  • Identify what you can and cannot change and set realistic goals.

  • Stay in touch with friends and family.

  • Join a support group.

  • Find time to be physically active every day.

  • Try to keep your sense of humor.

  • See your MD, regularly as needed.

  • If you work, check out the Family & Medical Leave Act.

Emerging trend among the old-old

  • Homicide/suicides are increasing

  • Almost all homicide/suicides in older persons involve a husband who kills his wife before killing himself

  • Each year more than 500 homicides/suicides or 1,000 deaths occur in persons 55 years or older, which means that 20 older persons die each week in USA in a homicide/suicide.

  • Act of desperation – depression and helplessness


Homicide/Suicide – what to look for:

  • Older couple has been married a long time and husband has dominant personality

  • Husband is caregiver and wife dementia or other condition creating total dependence

  • One or both have multiple medical problems and the health status of one or both are changing

  • A move to a nursing home or ALF is pending or under discussion

  • The older couple is becoming more socially isolated, withdrawing from family, friends and social activities

If you suspect or are concerned:

  • Talk with them. Don’t be afraid to ask.

  • Get involved and talk about alternatives/options.

  • Get professionals involved.

  • Remove weapons and all the other tools of suicide prevention.

  • Help them to address their concerns.

  • Don’t let them give up and see such an act as a solution.

In all situations with elderly,


    • Show you Care

      • Help make the last years the best years


  • Connect with the person

  • Connect with local resources

For senior service and program information:

  • 925-9554 in Santa Maria

  • 541-0384 in San Luis Obispo

  • 1-800-510-2020 anywhere in California