Help and Hope for Seniors Facing Uncertainty

Help and Hope for Seniors Facing Uncertainty

Seniors uncertainty Silversource

{Read in 4 minutes}  There is an alarming trend in murder-suicide rates among the older population, so the news from Whatcom County, Washington, while startling, was not new. This heart-breaking tragedy was apparently due to a couple’s overwhelming health care costs that led them to the belief they could no longer afford their medical care. They were in serious debt and believed they would never be able to resolve their situation.

Is the case of this couple an anomaly? Sadly, no. Many older adults find themselves in this never-ending, mentally crushing position.

Americans borrowed about $88 billion to pay for health care last year, and one in four people skipped care because of costs, according to a new Gallup survey funded by West Health. The nationwide survey found that lower-income adults were more likely to skip care for fear of bankruptcy over spiraling medical costs, but even affluent households deferred care over concerns about finances. Research from America’s Health Rankings reveals frequent mental distress is nearly three times more common among those who are unable to afford a doctor visit (24.3 percent) compared with those who can afford a doctor visit (8.6 percent). And lower-income adults with annual incomes less than $25,000 (24.2 percent) compared with adults with annual incomes of $75,000 or more (5.9 percent).

The National Council on Aging reports more than 25 million Americans over the age of 60 live at or below the poverty line. Suicide rates for men spike after age 65.

Increase in Senior Bankruptcy Filings 

The so-called golden years are often fraught with challenges from reduced income, increased healthcare costs and loss of social connections. According to the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, Americans filing for bankruptcy have increased by nearly 480 percent from 1991. For people over age 75, total bankruptcy filings climbed by nearly 1,000 percent.

Murder-Suicide Disturbing Trend Among the Elderly 

According to Donna Cohen, Ph.D. a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Child & Family Studies, College of Behavioral & Community Sciences, University of South Florida, the typical homicide-suicide case involves a depressed, controlling husband who shoots his ill wife.

The Whatcom County Sheriff said the tragic circumstances might have been averted if the couple had reached out for help. SilverSource is one such agency, but there are many others out there ready and willing to support and help the elderly who find themselves in this same predicament.

The approaching holidays are also a time when seniors have a tendency to succumb to depression and loneliness. It’s a good time of year to check in with the seniors in your life — let them know you are there for them.

There is Help and Hope

When her husband died, and the household income dropped by half, Mrs. S. didn’t know what to do or where to turn. Her oncologist referred her to SilverSource where we helped her transition from the family home to a more affordable living situation, with the support and homecare she ultimately needed. There are resources in all communities across the nation.

If you are a senior, don’t let fear, money, or pride keep you from reaching out for help. And if you suspect a senior is in trouble, you can make an anonymous referral to the Department of Social Services, Protective Services for the Elderly Division in your state.

If you or a loved one needs help, call SilverSource at 203.324.6584. Our expert staff can provide assistance, and connect you with the support you need.

For immediate help, if you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.

Give us a call — we can help.

Kathleen Bordelon
Executive Director
203.324.6584 x 301


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