A new study has found that more elderly people in Belgium are having suicidal thoughts or are considering euthanasia since the COVID-19 pandemic because they are afraid of facing isolation again.
The demand for euthanasia among residents of residential care homes has risen since the pandemic and more OAPs are having suicidal thoughts, according to a new report by the international humanitarian medical NGO ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres’ (‘Doctors without Borders’).
COVID-19 struck many care centres in Belgium and left a profound impression on elderly residents.
In care homes, workers noticed that the residents were suddenly asking more questions about euthanasia and even suicide since the lockdown.
A survey carried out in 983 institutions, including 865 in the northern region of Flanders, found that 10 percent of care centres noticed a clear increase in questions or comments related to euthanasia and suicide among residents.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said: “That confirms there is an increased desire to give up on life.”
Luc Op de Beeck, director of the Zorggroep Orion care home in Turnhout, said: “More and more residents are confronting us about wanting an end to their life.
“Why? Their zest for life has gone because they haven’t been outside for over two months.”
The MSF said: “Today’s residents are still affected by this social isolation. The impact has been huge. So great in fact, that people are more afraid of going through isolation again than the virus itself.”
The NGO also called on the government to do more, saying: “The specific mental health needs of both staff and residents were not considered a priority during the epidemic. It is crucial to tackle this now.”
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