The Life Experiences of Elderly with Suicide Ideation in the Community

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Guey-Hau Wu, RN, MS
Department of Nursing, National Taipei College of Nursing, Taipei, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: to unterstand suicide ideation is important predictor for Elderly with Suicide Ideation .

Learning Objective 2: unterstand the life experiences of elderly with Suicide Ideation in the Community.

Purpose: To explore the life experiences of elderly in the community with suicide ideation.

Methods: This was a qualitative study that focused on understanding community elderly who had thoughts of suicide in terms of their life experiences and perception. Purposive sampling was used to select participants. The criteria for the study include: the ability to speak and understand Mandarin or Taiwanese, being ≥65 years of age, being a man or woman who had expressed suicidal ideation and the ability to articulate their experiences. In-depth, face-to-face audiotape interviews were conducted by the researcher with each participant. The ethics committee of   NTCN being approved the study and consent was obtained by participants. The participants decided the interview location so that they felt comfortable and had the freedom to describe subjectively their life experiences.

Results: Fifteen participants were selected from a veteran home and the community. They include eight males and seven females aged 66 to 85 years. All of them had previously encountered suicide ideation. Thematic analysis revealed six themes, namely feeling disconsolate and remembering painful aspects of their life, hopelessness for future, no way out of their current life situation, a lack of courage of suicide, remembering honorable and good deeds in the past and seeking to improve their mood.

Conclusion: It is crucial that care providers are sensitive to elderly persons with suicide ideation so that these individuals can be referred to a comprehensive suicide prevention system. Reminiscence therapy, narrative therapy, group support and religion are able to help provide the support needed by these elderly. Care providers should provide support, including physical, psychological and spiritual aspects, to elderly at risk. Therefore, community nurses should increase their knowledge of suicide ideation health care and develop the ability to detect early elderly in the community with suicide ideation.