Risk of Suicide for Seniors

From  Dr Kevin O Neill a partner to Brookdale Senior Living.

Older age carries an increased risk of suicide. One-fourth of all suicides occur in persons over 65 years of age. Risk factors include depression, physical illness, living alone, male sex and alcoholism. Widowed Caucasian males over age 80 have a higher risk, especially if alcohol is involved. Suicidal thoughts and depression are more common among nursing home and assisted living residents, especially for those recently admitted. The staff of nursing homes and assisted living facilities should receive education and training to recognize depressed and suicidal individuals. In addition, research has demonstrated that the attitudes and demeanor of long-term care staff can have a profoundly positive (or negative) effect on the psychosocial well-being of residents.