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Suicide, major problem among old men in Sweden

Sunday, 27 November 2011
More than four elderly men a week commit suicide - several times more likely than women of similar age.
New figures show that this is common among older men aged around 80 years and more. Last year, over 1400 people kill themselves, most were men and the gap between men and women has grown bigger. Men make up over two thirds of those who take their lives in Sweden according to reports.

In total some 10.4 women per 100,000 of the population took their lives last year against 16.6 for the males. But among those over 80 is much larger bias, 8 women and 42.6 men per 100 000 of the population.

Helena Silfverhielm is a member of the National Board for Health and has published several studies on suicide. The curves is sloping slowly downwards, something she is happy with o the whole but when it come to the old aged: "Aging can be more problematic."

This is still far from zero vision for suicide, and, above all, the difference is still very much between the sexes:
The reports hold that there is danger in the life of men especially those who are single. Should there be something tragic in their lives, or men who have been overran by alcohol problems, these are the men to be watched closely. Also men who suffered from a cancer, it is not unusual for them to kill themselves, according to Helena Silfverhielm.

On the whole, men are over-represented because according to Helena Silfverhielm aging process in itself can be problematic, perhaps more for men than for women. This is because, probably that men have lived on being there to take care for the woman. As the get older and perhaps lack much of what it takes such as men's libido declines.

Besides that, generally, the care and concerns that Swedish older people used to have before has died down as the welfare system is gradually being eroded. Sweden is not a great place to get old again as it was before some 10 years ago.  Welfare services have been privatised with cares systems such as those tailored for older people being provided by private firms that care more about profit that quality. Older men with great pride would prefer to take their lives than to struggle to live in a less honourable way.

One major example is a scandal that rocked Sweden some two weeks ago where older residents in care homes where inhumanly treated. Back in September it was reported that 124 of 152 nursing homes in central Sweden had deficiencies. The Swedish Work Environment Authority was reported then to be reviewing nursing homes in central Sweden in which o the 152 examined then, 124 had deficiencies in their work as reported then on radio Sweden.

Weaknesses identified include musculoskeletal injuries, pressure from the staff and for the ambitious business goals.
By Scancomark.e Team


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