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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

FIGUEIREDO, Ana Elisa Bastos et al. Impact of suicide of the elderly on their families. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.8, pp. 1993-2002. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232012000800010.

The scope of this paper is an analysis of suicide of elderly people and the impact on the dynamics of their families is presented. The method used is of the qualitative research type known as psychosocial autopsy and is based on interviews with the family members of 51 elderly people who committed suicide in 10 Brazilian cities. The study in these cities was defined by epidemiological research that revealed the relevance of this phenomenon. Many themes were analyzed in the investigation. However, this text focuses on how the families coped with the death of the elderly person, their impressions regarding the act, and the repercussions on family members and the social network. Pursuant to a comprehensive analysis of the testimonies, the following nuclei of significance were revealed: feelings of guilt for the act; social isolation and its manifestations on health; social stigma and prejudice; prospects of overcoming family suffering; anger and feelings of the improbability of the act; and care for the family members. The families manifested suffering, sadness, and perplexity at the death of the elderly person, which influences and has repercussions on their dynamics and at an individual level. Such consequences are different in each area researched depending on the experiences the family has had with acts of this nature.

Keywords : Suicide; The elderly; Family.

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