Suicide is always an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but the truth is, it is occurring more in more in those that are coming into retirement or aging in place. A report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April of this year states that the elderly suicide rate is higher than any other age group.
According to medical sources depression is often the key factor in elderly suicide. It is often not diagnosed by health professionals or recognized by those caring for someone aging in place. Many people see depression as part of growing older, but it is not.
The fact is that elderly people are better at completing suicides than other age groups. And, it isn’t around the holidays that you need to be the most vigilant, but Spring. And, for those aging in place being treated for depression, take note that certain types of antidepressants can elevate the risk of elderly suicide.
Some signs that your elderly loved one may be suffering from depression:
- Talking or thinking about suicide or death
- Removing themselves from social activities they regularly attend
- Periods of sadness that go for two weeks or more
- Lack of sleep, or problems with concentration or falling asleep
- Tendency to pace or fidget
- Become teary-eyed regularly
- Lethargic or having a ‘slowed down’ feeling
- Extreme worry over financial issues or bodily health
- Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
- Changes in appearance or weight
What to do?
Take care to watch for warning signs. If you recognize these signs in yourself or someone you provide care for, take immediate action. Go see a doctor and explain what you’ve witnessed. Discuss treatment options, including choices for medication and mental health counseling. Take heart; 80% of elderly people treated for depression return to their normal life; healthy and able!
For more information about depression, elderly suicide and prevention: