Older single women at risk

Women over 60 are more likely to attempt and complete suicide compared to younger women. 

Many older women are widowed or divorced and quite often have no family.  To quote from the article above: “Social isolation is a risk factor for suicide, social connectedness is a protective factor. Very simply, you do not die if you are not alone and people do not normally suicide in the presence of others.”

I know of one group of five friends who bought a block of six units together.  They currently rent out the sixth unit with the idea that this one would eventually be available rent free for someone trained in aged care so the owners could continue to live in their own homes as they become frail, while knowing that support was within easy reach.

This is a brilliant idea but there are many older women who don’t own their own home and don’t have enough money to buy anything.  There needs to be more secure housing available for these women where they can form a community of people who will look out for each other.

Housing affordability is an essential part of making life bearable for anyone, as is having true neighbours willing to look out for each other.  

There are some public housing complexes for people of retirement age but not nearly enough of these.  One that I know of has a mix of single level and two-storey townhouses with their own courtyards and common garden areas as well as a community room complete with kitchen and toilet facilities.  This room can be used by residents to put on movie nights or have parties or other celebrations there.  More of this type of accommodation is essential for single women to live a connected life.

Of course, there should be similar housing for older men too as they can often be extremely isolated too.

(c) Jane Gillespie

 

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