Caring culture helps prevent suicides in elderly lonely

Uncertainty and anxiety over health issues with lack of key social support for the elderly lonely can lead to depression and, at a later stage, to suicide, case studies have proven.

Indeed, quality of life can make a big difference in a person wanting to value life or giving up on it as highlighted by Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi (Less stressful environment helps prevent suicide risk; Aug 17).

When loneliness tears at the hearts of people who are shunned and left to fend for themselves, do we as a society step forward to help? Or do we turn a blind eye because "it is not my problem"?

Loneliness is not just making us fall sick, but it is killing us - literally. Do we discuss suicide sufficiently or do we sweep this problem under the carpet because it is a taboo subject?

Studies of the elderly lonely show that those who do not have adequate social interaction are twice as likely to die prematurely.

Neighbours can play an important role in helping the elderly lonely feel valued by simple gestures which show they care. Showing that one cares can lift the human spirit.

Let us build a caring, compassionate and gracious society so that looking out for one another becomes part and parcel of our everyday life.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2017, with the headline 'Caring culture helps prevent suicides in elderly lonely'. Print Edition | Subscribe