Suicide and the Elderly

Suicide, at any age, seems to be a needless tragedy. When someone we love takes their life the people they truly hurt are those that care the most about them. When an elder relative or loved one resorts to suicide as a solution, the reasons can be difficult to understand. Why did they end their life in their autumn years? What could be so bad that they yearned for a premature death? Understanding some facts about suicide and the elderly might help if you find yourself in a similar situation.
According to a 2005 report by the American Association of Suicidology, there were 5,404 suicides in the United States among those aged 65 and older. Although those suicides only comprised of 12.4% of the population, they represented 16.6% of all suicides. This is a much higher percentage than what is to be expected. Of those suicides, white males, aged 85 years or older were at the highest risk.
Suicide is almost always the result of clinical depression. This can be caused by the loss of a loved one or pet, fear of living a less-than-quality life, or the onset of a serious disease, such as: diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s or dementia. Some people cannot stand to live life if it is not up to the standard they had when they were younger and healthier. If the person doesn’t have a viable support of family around them, depression can set in and go undetected. Older adults often display a less open personality and don’t allow their emotions to show.
Factors to look for are:
• Frustration and Anger
• Hostility
• Shyness and Timid Behavior
• Physical or Psychological Pain
• Feelings of Hopelessness
If you feel that a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult a professional to see if there is anything that can be done to help them. Sometimes the answer can be as simple as spending more time with the person. In other cases, they may need medicine to manage their pain or depression.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kabb Law at 216.991.KABB (5222).