Long Live the Homeless?

by cmisk on March 14, 2014 - 3:30pm

Body: Thinking about this, I was curious to see what case studies have been going on recently involving the homeless population. The journal article, “Mortality and Life Expectancy in Homeless Men and Women in Rotterdam:  2001-2010”, really grabbed my attention because it provides conclusive data demonstrating the life expectancy among the homeless population. The goals of these researchers were to not only to compare the mortality between homeless men and women but to also compare their average death ages to the average death ages of the general population. This case study was specifically interesting because it was an on-going research study, having duration of 10 years. After 2,096 homeless adults being check up on between 2001-2010, in any homeless services in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), it was clear that homeless people indeed live a significantly shorter life than those of the general population. With the follow up in 2010, 265 homeless people had died within that decade. Reviewing the homeless men and women that had passed, the mortality rate was higher in the women than the men. When they compared these results with the general population, the homeless mortality rate was 3.5 times higher! Life expectancy of the homeless population was between 11-16 years lower than the general population.

Clearly, the homeless population not only suffers from a lacking of a consistent environment, but also suffers from an earlier death. The research and collection methods in this case study left little room for errors in the collected data. The main questions asked for the participants are male or female, dead or alive, and current age. The author only includes specific numbers when talking about the sample size and the number of deceased homeless people at the end of the 10 year period. The statistics are easy to understand. The author gives a small range of years between the homeless population expectancy and general population expectancy, which also gives little room for tainted results because all the collected results fell in between the range. The fact that the experimenter found his homeless participants at different homeless services and facilities around the Netherlands was a very effective way to find subjects. The homeless clearly don’t stay in one place or street for long, so it would’ve been too hard for the experimenter to keep up with the homeless participants on the street. These facilities and services are regularly checked into the by homeless public. After reading this journal article I had to wonder why the homeless die so much earlier? There are possible reasons, lack of money, no job, drug problems, even family matters. This journal post does not explain why there is a large gap in life expectancy between the homeless and the general population.  

 

Reference Source: Nusselder, W. (2013) mortality and life expectancy in homeless men and women in Rotterdam: 2001-2010. PLoS ONE, 8, 1-14

 

Link:  http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy2.drake.brockport.edu/ehost/detail?vid...

Comments

Poverty has been a global issue for years. It seems like we are near the edge of falling into an even greater depression. Although the government seems to be taking action with providing some type of stability it isn’t enough. Every year more and more Americans including people around the world are falling on the poverty line or under even causing homelessness. Therefore they are unable to provide financially or even emotionally because of depression. It is not of surprise that the resulted deaths are happening more often to the poor rather than the rich especially the homeless people who as stated the life expectancy are 11-16 years lower than the general population. There are smaller issues residing in this big issue of the homeless. They are getting sick because they do not have the money to buy medicine or go to the doctor because they do not have Medicare. The government sees what is happening and yet their actions are not helpful in any way to these people who are suffering. The homeless move from place to place where climate changes and they are exposed to more dangers and bacteria causing diseases.
Some people can argue that the people who become homeless are due to the fact that they are lazy which is not the case because losing or being laid off in your job you have worked at for years is not an act of laziness. It is the government’s way of saying we can no longer afford to pay you for your work so you find another job or you are screwed. Our nation is supposed to consider the best of our people interest at heart yet people around the world are losing everything they have worked so hard for in a matter of seconds. The rich are getting richer and the poor and just getting poorer because we live under a government that favors the rich. I agree that the lack of a consistent environment and living on the streets having no money to even take a shower will result in more deaths due to physical and emotional health. This is something that needs to change or it will only worsen.

I am really glad that you chose to write about homeless because not enough awareness is going around about the homeless population. What some people fail to acknowledge is that homeless people are still in fact, people. They can still feel, think, and develop mental illnesses. I believe that some homeless are dying at such a young age because they become homeless in their early years and over time, they develop mental health issues that negatively affect the way they think and act, evidently making them more likely to make bad decision that can lead to death. I have linked a document that mentions how mental illness can affect a person’s mind and influence them to make life threatening decisions. I am currently volunteering at a homeless shelter in Montreal, Quebec and I interact with the participants there who suffer from addictions and mental health issues that are at times refused entry to the shelter because they are a threat to others and can put the staff and other participants in harm’s way.
Link: http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/documents/Media%20Room/Quick%20Facts%2...

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