Help seniors not to commit suicide

Updated: 2014-08-04 09:55

(China Daily)

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A six-year research project on suicides committed by elderly people in rural areas in 11 provinces has thrown up some shocking results. The study conducted by a lecturer in Wuhan University shows that many of the people chose to end their lives because of "survival difficulties", says an article in Excerpts:

Aside from "survival difficulties", the other major reason why senior citizens in rural areas commit suicide is because they cannot bear the pain that diseases cause. In fact, the two reasons account for about 60 percent of all suicides committed by elderly people.

Although senior citizens living in cities also suffer from diseases and face similar difficulties, they are not as vulnerable as those living in rural areas because they have better access to medical care and social welfare. This is a problem that deserves more attention of the authorities and the public alike.

Many young people have migrated from rural areas to cities in search of better livelihoods leaving behind their old parents or children in villages. Although such people do get better-paying jobs in cities, their family bonds - between young and old people - seem to be gradually breaking. As a result, more senior citizens are left to fend for themselves because their offspring cannot or will not take care of them. This makes senior citizens more vulnerable to diseases and depression.

Worse, senior citizens in rural areas could become victims of some people giving wrong advice that suicide is the best way of ridding oneself of the pains and sufferings of this world.

Therefore, the authorities and relatives, especially grown-up children of senior citizens, should find the reasons why elderly people are forced to commit suicide and address them by at least providing them medical and economic support, and taking measures to solve their psychological problems.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily 08/04/2014 page9)