I love her to death – Passion is not for youth alone: A Case Study

Authors: Dr Paul Cassar & Dr. Joseph Cassar

Background: A case study of an elderly gentleman who presented with death wishes and suicidal ideation with impulsive self harm / suicidal behaviour. This occurred in the context of caring for his elderly wife suffering from Alzheimers dementia – experienced as a heavy burden and also a loss to the patient.

Methods & Conclusions: A background to the case, interventions, and outcomes are discussed. A parallel is made to the adolescent romantic relationship. To the intense feelings and impulsive suicidality / self harm, so often encountered clinically with youths threatened with the loss of a partner, to show how this behaviour is not limited to that of youth alone. Parallels of related personality disorders are also made. Availability of means of self harm and suicide on an acute psychiatric inpatient ward are also discussed. Finally the causes of suicide in the elderly, carer suicide and caring for the carers are also explored.