Why do older women wish to commit suicide?
A steep increase in suicide rates has observed in the older adults (over 65 years) of many countries.
Possible reasons could be:
- Traditional values and norms being quickly disrupted in many countries (due to modernisation). Instead of honouring and appreciating elder people, some societies start to look upon them as useless ballast. Taking care of them becomes an inconvenient chore. In contemplation of this disrespect, many elder people take their lives because they do not want to be a burden any longer to their family and community.
- The forced migration of their loved ones. In many countries, children and grandchildren nowadays are forced to move because there is no food or work at home, or because factories offer more money in bigger cities. Some of them have to move many miles to live near work. During this so called ‘migration’, their parents and grandparents have to stay back with no one to take care of them. Some of them feel so lonely, helpless and depressed that they prefer to take their lives.
- Women often consider old age “the season of losses”. They have to bemoan the deaths of many friends and loved ones. The loss of their husband causes a deep grief in recently widowed women and at the same time often finds them in a difficult economical situation. Those who do not get enough help and support from friends and family, are often unable to cope with these problems.
- Loss of self esteem with retirement. This is a condition mostly prevalent in developed countries, as most women support themselves there. With the advancement of time elder women find themselves at the end of employment, and their retirement invokes a loss of self-esteem and independence. They feel useless and redundant. The loss of work-related social contacts makes them feel lonesome and abandoned.
- Health issues. The loss of good health to chronic illness and/or pain, often leading to a loss of physical mobility, personal autonomy and personal dignity is another reason for some elder women not wanting to live any more.