Suicidal risk factors for older adults

Even though variables within psychological, physical, and public domains have been related to completed suicide in older adults, “controlled studies are necessary to test hypothesized risk factors” (Stimming & Stimming, 1999, p. 98). Poor health as well as functional impairment raises risk, but their control seems to be mediated by dejection.

Older adults who take their own lives are hardly ever stimulated by irritation or vengeance. rather, they usually just try to find the release in the form of death as an “escape from emotional and physical pain” (Ford, 2010, p. 22). Suicide in later life seldom seems to be a result of ambivalence or transmitted anger. It is argued that older adults are “less conflicted, more direct, and more aware of the reasons for ending their lives” (Ford, 2010, p. 23).

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Feelings of deficiency, insignificance and guiltiness, depression and misery are a few of the reasons why individuals with dejection come to believe that suicide is a practical solution. In addition, there are a number of factors that raise the risk for dejection among older adults, for instance, persistent disease, physical disability, loss, social seclusion, and failure of social functions and ties (Marcovitz, 2010).

Recklessness and self-damage are both thought to be prognostic of suicide though this link has been more strongly developed with younger adults and adolescents. For example, one study, investigated attempted suicide between 17 and 65 year old members and found that “half had thought about it for 10 minutes or less before engaging in suicide-related behavior” (Leo, 2001, p. 32).

Official suicide figures recognize older adults as a high-threat group. In 2010, it was noted that older adults consisted of 15 percent of the U.S. population, yet constitute 22 percent of its suicides.

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