Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pray for Taiwan's elderly

Ephesians 2:12 "Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenant of promise, without hope and without God in this world."

We have all read news reports about suicides and drug overdoses among the pop music and movie star crowd. Can you imagine your grandparent doing the same thing? It would seem unthinkable. But in Taiwan, the suicide rate among elderly is much higher than you would expect. The older generation for the large part are without God and without hope in this world.

One of our planned projects for the fall is to begin to develop outreach material specifically targeting Taiwan's elderly who often live at home alone, spending much of their day watching television. The vast majority have never heard the Gospel once, not having social circles that would naturally bring them into contact with Christians that they might hear the hope found in Jesus Christ.

Oh, to hear the good news:

Ephesians 2:13-14 "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Chirst. He himself is our peace..."

Please pray that the Holy Spirit would move Taiwanese Christians towards prayer and a deep concern for the souls of the older generation. Please pray they will take the time to visit them and talk to them.

Please pray for God to have mercy and that so many unreached elderly Taiwanese will find the only true peace in Jesus Christ.

Here is an article by Taiwan's government news service:

Suicide among elderly becoming alarming issue: official
06/20/2011 (CNA)

Elderly people have a higher propensity to commit suicide than younger people, and about 25 percent of senior citizens become suicidal after prolonged suffering from chronic or terminal illness, a Taipei City government health official said Monday.

According to the Taipei City Department of Health's Suicide Prevention Center, the suicide rate among people aged 65 and older in Taiwan is two to three times higher than in all other age groups in the country.

Statistics compiled by the Cabinet-level Department of Health for 2010 show a suicide rate of 35.8 per 100,000 people in the over-65 age group, a figure that tops all younger age groups, said Kao Wei-chun, deputy CEO of the center.

The center released its findings that same day on why so many elderly people became suicidal that year. Results of the study show that 25 percent of the elderly who became suicidal had suffered from chronic or terminal illness for a long period, 23 percent became suicidal as a result of depression, and 18 percent became so due to "relationship troubles with family members."

While illness and depression were tagged as the major contributory factors, it was a compound of many problems that weighed on the lives of the elderly and drove as many as 30 percent of them to suicidal thoughts, Kao said.

Elderly people have to deal with issues such as prolonged use of medication, declining health, troubles with their children or aged spouses and financial pressure, all of which can lead to suicidal tendencies, she continued.

She also noted that while the country's overall suicide rate has dropped in recent years, it has remained consistently high in the over-65 age group.

"Keeping the elderly company and helping them vent their grievances is the best way of helping to divert their minds away from thoughts of suicide," she said.