Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Senior citizens with mental illness

Raymond's letter to the press: : Provide a support network & revive the kampung spirit

I refer to the report, “Terrified women run away when she appears ” (The New Paper, 17 Oct).

Once again, an elderly citizen who lives in isolation and displays signs of bizarre behaviour has ended up in depressing circumstances.

The risk factors for depression and other mental illnesses in the elderly include living alone and having to struggle with bereavement. The old woman who caned women in shorts is probably in this predicament.

We need to reach out to the lonely elderly and those who have chronic illnesses as they are likely to fall into depression when they feel that nobody cares for them.

To enable our seniors to lead more meaningful lives, the Government could put in place a network that can rprovide ongoing support for this group of citizens.

For example, when an elderly citizen passes on, then the Registry of Births and Deaths can tie-up with a relevant government agency to check if any family member is left to live alone.

If this is the case, then the respective Member of Parliament (MP) and his grassroots leaders of his constituency should pay a home visit to this person and offer any assistance that is needed.

The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports should revive the Kampung spirit that was very much alive the '50s' and '60s'.

In those days, one can be assured of a helping hand and even the sharing of a bowl of rice, ikan bilis and sambal belachan.

The MPs and mayors should also make sporadic visits to our lonely elderly so that they feel cared for.


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