Senior Citizens Have Highest Suicide Rate

2010-09-09 10:32

The highest suicide rate of any age group occurs among those aged 65 and older. There is an average of one suicide among the elderly every 90 minutes which suggests that senior citizens have the highest suicide rate.

Suicide prevention awareness campaign to combat senior citizen high suicide rates.

To combat this growing problem, organizations are launching a statewide suicide prevention and awareness that will focus on the elderly and their caregivers.

Researchers are trying to uncover the reason for the high rate of suicide in seniors. Some researchers say factors such as lack of social support, poor sleep patterns, and memory or other problems contribute to the suicide rate.

So many of today’s seniors believe in keeping a “tiff upper lip” when it comes to mental health and do not seek help. Often, when asked how they are feeling you may hear about aching joints, but they're far less likely than younger people to admit to depression, said Anderson, a geriatric psychiatrist in Cambridge, Md.

Dr. Yeates Conwell, a University of Rochester specialist in elderly suicide stated, "We tend to seek the simple solution: Mr. Smith killed himself because his wife died or Mrs. Jones killed herself because she was diagnosed with cancer," but that's seldom the real reason, he said. "We have to go beyond simple explanations and start looking ... at the tapestry of older people's lives."

Americans 65 and older account for about 13 percent of the population but almost a fifth of all suicides. The national rate is 11 suicides for every 100,000 people, about the same for teens. But the risk steadily rises with age - and most at risk are older white men: 33 of every 100,000 of them commit suicide every year, translating to 4,655 suicides in 1998 alone.

Elders who are at a high risk of suicide usually show certain behavioral and personality traits such as higher dependency, being overcome by an intense sense of helplessness and hopelessness, possess poor crisis management abilities, are extremely irritability, and demonstrate a certain degree of antisocial behavior.

Timely recognition of these signs of depression and responding to these seniors can help to reduce the increasing instances of elderly suicide.. Correct medication, pain management, counseling and family support are extremely crucial.

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