Geriatric Suicide

An analysis of suicide rates among geriatric persons – what causes it and how it can be prevented.

This paper examines the issue of how suicide is creeping up the list of leading causes of death among persons over the age of 65. It shows how the elderly population most at risk can be placed in 3 categories: those who have had a recent loss, usually the death of a spouse or child but could also be a loss like a home or possessions, those who have received an unpleasant medical diagnosis, a terminal diagnosis or a debilitating chronic diagnosis and those who feel a general lack of usefulness or purpose that elicits feelings of depression. It proposes a study in order to determine the risk level of elderly individuals and attempt to help similar populations obtain more timely access to mental health treatment and possibly prevent the increase in incidents of suicide among the elderly.
“Of the two groups addressed the individuals still residing at home would again be at greater risk for lack of access to mental health treatment or even awareness of the severity of their symptoms. Once again this is associated with the general lesser opportunity for frequent social interactions. Symptoms of depression are often long term, causing some individuals who are suffering from organic and/or situational depression to become accustomed to the symptoms and the subsequent lifestyle change. Occasionally, in a worst-case scenario an individual and his or her family may actually believe that their suffering is a normal aspect of the aging process, unaware that there are reasonable and effective treatments for this condition.”