It is time to sit back and take a look at why suicide is rising in older seniors. White older seniors approaching and entering their 80s seem to be most vulnerable. Various factors seem to be taking hold when Zoomers enter the last decades so let’s take a look.
Depression and suicide are two causes of death that are increasing in prevalence for all age groups. They are also on the rise in a specific age group, that of older adults. Finding that older adults are becoming more and more depressed and committing suicide at a greater rate than ever before is due to their failing physical and mental health. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why older retirees fall into such a depressed state as to commit suicide.
Reasons for Depression
Depression is the most common diagnosis in older adults who have attempted suicide. Depression frequently accompanies a chronic disease. Physical health status is the most consistently reported risk factor for the onset and persistence of depression. Of course there are various other reasons such as a spouse departing or loss of home.
Depression can also be brought on by anxiety in older adults. In fact, the relationship between anxiety and depressive symptoms in later life are relatively common among older adults. Anxiety over worry about various things runs rampant in older adults. Staying active and keeping busy with activities to keep your day full is a vital remedy.
Suicide in Older Adults
A study about older adult suicide was conducted by Zweig and Hinrichsen . Included were 150 community-dwelling adults, age 60 and over, who were admitted to a psychiatric inpatient service. Each member met the criteria for major depressive disorder. The patients and family members were interviewed six and twelve months after the patients were admitted to the hospital.
Eleven of the 126 older patients attempted suicide within the year following inpatient admission for major depressive disorder. Of the patients who attempted suicide, 73% did so during the six to twelve month period following hospitalization. The study then went on to explore the differences between those who attempted suicide and those who did not. Individuals who attempted suicide occupied, on average, a higher social class position. They were also less likely to experience remission, and were more likely to relapse if they did experience remission. The study also found that interpersonal factors were associated with suicidal behavior in the patients.
Reasons for Depression and Suicide in Older Adults
Depression frequently accompanies a chronic disease, particularly when the disease impairs function. Physical health status is the most consistently reported risk factor for the onset and persistence of depression in late life. Suicide rates increase with age. First and foremost is physical illness. Though depression is a major cause of suicide, there are other factors involved. For example, believing one has led a full life and not wanting to continue living in psychological and physical pain.
The question of why older adults commit suicide is one that needs attention. As the Zoomer wave is about to hit the beach this a a major issue that should be dealt with. Millions of baby boomers all across the world are retiring and entering this confusing and yes, painful and scary stage of life.
What should be done
There could be a thousand answers to this most important question. Can anything be done to prevent and help ones transition into suicidal thoughts? Who remembers leaving childhood and entering the first stage of life, Learning! Yes you had to school to learn how to become a contributing member of society through learning, relationships and activities. So what is so different about entering old age?
Entering old age should be an adventure. Old age learning schools should be started to teach Zoomers how to deal with old age. Activities and relationships and learning should be implemented for retirees. I am sure there are many places that do this already but do they target depression. Seeing that this is most likely the no1. cause of elderly suicide it should be looked at.
Activities in your later years just could be the answer to anxiety and depression. Move it or lose it is a saying that goes back and it’s true. The best thing for anyone entering old age is to keep busy. Depression can hit anybody at anytime. When you are active and busy one is most likely to be less depressed. Lot’s of Coffee helps too.
Reading, writing, puzzles and games are quite common in the old age homes. There main functions is to keep seniors busy. Let’s face it, people are living a lot longer these days. Seniors in there 90s are jumping out of airplanes. Depression can happen to anyone. Sisters, brothers, friends or neighbors can be affected. Keep an eye out and give an uplifting word at first sign of this condition.
Failing health of course has no remedies. Only drugs to relieve pain and patch and go remedies are the answers to this. This is a problem no amount of schooling can answer and only the sufferer can know. One thing for sure we will all face our maker one day as all things do.