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

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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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Presentation Transcript
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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
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Demographic imperative in USA
  • Baby boomer population

Impacts on ALL aspects of community life

  • Financial/economic
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Family
  • Caregiving
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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)
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Lethality
  • 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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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What is Caregiver Stress?
  • Caregiver stress is the emotional and physical strain of caregiving.
    • Guilt
    • Helplessness
    • Frustration
    • Anger
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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
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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.

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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
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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
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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.
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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

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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
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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.
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In all situations with elderly,
  • INTERVENTION IS KEY.
    • Show you Care
      • Help make the last years the best years

CONNECT

  • Connect with the person
  • Connect with local resources
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For senior service and program information:
  • 925-9554 in Santa Maria
  • 541-0384 in San Luis Obispo
  • 1-800-510-2020 anywhere in California
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