10% of seniors in Taipei suffer psychological distress: DOH

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Close to 10 percent of senior citizens in Taipei are plagued by psychological distress, according to the findings of physical checkups on such citizens released yesterday by the Department of Health under the Taipei City Government.

The health department had commissioned 27 hospitals to include a mood thermometer test as one of several free health examination items for senior citizens. Of a total of 6,413 elders examined in the first quarter of the year, 8.1 percent said they were caught in psychological distress, and one percent noted they required professional care and assistance to counter their serious distress. The mood thermometer is used to gauge the state of mind based on five situations, including feeling nervous, feeling annoyed and apt to get angry, feeling blue or in a sad mood, feeling inferior to others, and finding it hard to fall asleep but easy to wake up.

Over the past five years, according to the health department, more female senior citizens have had the idea of committing suicide than male elders, but the number of male seniors who died of suicides was double the corresponding number for female seniors.

This indicated that male seniors differ in psychological distresses and suicidal means, but both males and females require great care from family members and the social public. Based on suicide cases reported to the Taipei City Government Suicide Prevention Center in the first nine months of the year, female elders cared more about human relationships and emotional problems than male ones, while male senior citizens were more concerned about physical illness than female ones and tended to commit suicide while suffering lingering serious illnesses.