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Why Do The Elderly Commit Suicide ?

          In the United States, elders (aged 65 and above) have been reported to commit suicide more frequently than teenagers and younger people. Current studies and research suggest an increasing trend of suicides among the elderly.

           According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCICP), Americans who are 65 years and above, constitute only 13 percent of the entire population, but account for about 20.2 percent of all suicide cases in the country. These statistics are from 1992 data. The suicide patterns in older people are quite different for men and women. In their analysis, researchers have found that white men are at highest risk of suicide.          

           Common causes for the rapidly increasing cases of suicide among the elderly include:

  1. Social isolation and solitary living, which leaves them vulnerable and lonely. It is estimated that 50 per cent of the elderly people who commit suicide live alone.
  2. Depression (due to death of a spouse, difficulty in adjusting to unfamiliar situations in life or retirement from work)
  3. Deteriorating health conditions such as permanent disability or chronic illness
  4. Inability to face and manage crisis
  5. Stressful events in life (such as bankruptcy, divorce, etc) which provoke a person to take the extreme step of committing suicide

          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. However, timely recognition of these signs of depression and responding to the cries of help of the people at risk of committing suicides can help to reduce the rapidly increasing instances of elderly suicide cases. Correct medication, pain management, counseling and family support are extremely crucial.

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Why Do The Elderly Commit Suicide

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