When we look at county and state data, older adults are dying from suicide more than most other age groups, so we'd like to remind you: Loneliness, loss of interest in activities, isolated behavior, and trouble sleeping are NOT a normal part of aging.
Clackamas County offers many resources to older adults to allow them to age in place and feel connected, engaged and valued. But all of us— youth, adult children, and other community members -- can play a part in supporting older adults, too.
Youth: You don’t like to be lonely. Your grandparents and other older relatives don’t either! Here are some ideas to help them:
- Ask them to share their favorite memory or piece of advice
- Ask them to teach you one of their favorite hobbies, sports, or skills
- Create and send a family newsletter to them once a month
Adult children: Transitions for your parents and other older relatives can be tough. Retirement, losing a driver’s license, moving out of a longtime home, and other events can hit older adults hard. Here are some ways to help them:
- Ask them about recent transitions or changes in their life, like retirement, illness, or loss
- Whenever possible, include them in family discussions or decisions
- Share a meal, coffee, or activity with them once a month
Community members: Be the connection older adults need. Here are some ways to help them:
- Make eye contact, smile, and say “hello”
- Take an extra five minutes to ask them how they are, or how their day is going
Here are some resources for older adults and those who support them:
If you need more information about how to support an older adult who is struggling with depression, contact Kim Whitely, our Behavioral Health Division’s Older Adult Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, if someone you know is in a mental health crisis, call Clackamas County’s Crisis and Support Line at 503-655-8585 or the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.