Sunday, April 4, 2010

Depression, Suicide in the Elderly (Video 2:52 mins.)

Discussions about suicide usually don’t focus on the elderly, even though their rates of suicide are proportionately high. Depression, which is too often ignored and considered part of aging, often accompanies suicidal tendencies. The following are symptoms of depression which may be helped through diagnosis ruling out medications, counseling, and drug therapy:

1)   Persistent Sadness
2)   Feelings of Worthlessness
3)   Tearfulness
4)   Pacing and Fidgeting
5)   Excessive Worry

A study at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee focused on risk factors for elderly suicide. An analysis in Caucasians found that “compared to married individuals, those widowed, divorced, or never married had a 2.5 to nearly 5-fold increase in risk of suicide death. Males aged 65-74 had almost a 7-fold increased risk compared to females of that age, and the risk increased for males as they aged, compared to females 65-74 years old.” Being single, male, and a male advancing in age are suicide risk factors. The most common method of suicide was firearm use (66.9%).

Knowing risk factors for elderly suicide can assist healthcare workers, caregivers, and others in recognizing early signs and providing approporiate intervention. You can read more here about the Wisconsin research.

This "NBC New York Nightly News" video titled Segment on Elderly Depression”  highlights the relationship between elderly depression and suicide.

Frances Shani Parker, Author


  1. That is a great video, Shari. Good reminder for me, since I have hundreds of elderly in my medical clinic.

  2. Depression in the elderly is commonly caused by the feeling of abandonment.Let us take care of our elders. Let them know that we will never abandon them. Ask help from people with experience and capable hands to make their golden years happy and precious.

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