Elderly Depression and Suicide Prevention
True or False: Teens are more likely to commit suicide over an elderly person…
Despite the fact older American adults tend to have less workplace stress, greater flexibility with their day and more wisdom to help cope with challenges than younger adults; depression and suicide increases with age.
Older adults make up 12% of the US population, but account for 18% of all suicide deaths. This is an alarming statistic, as the elderly are the fastest growing segment of the population, making the issue of later-life suicide a major public health priority.
Caregivers, families of aging parents and senior care communities are in the best position to help prevent suicide in the elderly.
Who is most at risk for elderly suicide?
Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Male deaths represent 79% of all U.S. suicides and are highest among men 75 and older
People who lack family support, especially older adults widowed or divorced
Anyone suffering from depression, substance abuse or another underlying mental illness
Other suicide risk factors for seniors include:
Coping with major life changes like the loss of a spouse or friend or a move
Managing chronic pain
Suffering from serious health concerns
Taking certain prescriptions which alter brain chemistry
What are the warning signs?
- Lack of interest in things or activities usually found enjoyable
- Reduced social interaction, self-care, and grooming
- Feeling hopeless and/or worthless
- Experiencing a significant personal loss
- Arranging affairs, giving things away, or making changes in wills
- Hoarding medications or other lethal substances
- Lack of concern for personal safety or well-being
- Making remarks such as “This is the last time you’ll see me” or “I won’t be needing appointments”
- The most significant indicator is an expression of suicidal intent
Suicide in later years is a major concern and should not be taken lightly. Elderly suicide prevention will especially be pertinent with the rising number of older adults and baby boomers. If you recognize any of the warning signs in an elderly loved one, DO NOT HESITATE to seek a professional opinion.
If it is just a case of the winter blues or form of mild depression, here are some ways to lift one’s spirits.
Dr. Kay got her medical education in Brazil.
Dr. Kay also has a master degree in Film and Television from UCLA and has been an adviser for medical television shows.
Dr. Kay is very active in the Health Industry. She is a member of the American Board of Home Care, the National Association of Home Care, CAHSAH, California Association of Health Services at Home. She co-chairs the education committee for the Down with Falls Coalition. Dr. Kay is in the speaker’s bureau for the coalition helping educate health care professionals and the community on fall risks, diabetes, adverse drug reaction, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, dehydration and nutrition, etc…. for older adults.
Dr. Kay was nominated by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) as the Remarkable Woman of 2008.
Dr. Kay is actively involved in many philanthropy and non-profit organizationssuch as the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, the Philharmonic Society, Women Helping Women, Youth Employment Services, E-Women, Women Sage, Plasticos Foundation, CIELO and others.
Dr. Kay’s passion is to assist seniors to live long and thrive in the comfort of their own home.
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