by Kevin Caruso
Elderly suicide is a very serious problem. Although the elderly (age 65 and older) comprise about 13% of the U.S. population, they account for over 18% of all suicides.
The most common cause for elderly suicide, as for all suicides, is untreated depression.
Thus, elderly depression needs to be recognized and treated.
And about one third of the seniors who are 65 or older experience depression.
Some individuals erroneously believe that depression is a normal part of being elderly, which is completely untrue. Depression is not normal for people of any age.
Elderly people with depression have a chemical imbalance in their brain. And that chemical imbalance is extremely common
and highly treatable.
However, it is important that an elderly person who exhibits symptoms of depression receives a thorough physical exam from a medical doctor to determine if there is a physical basis for the depression. Some physical conditions and the use of some medications may cause symptoms of depression.
The following disease and physical problems may cause symptoms of depression:
- thyroid disorders
- Parkinson's disease
- multiple sclerosis
- some viral infections
The following medications may cause symptoms of depression:
- blood pressure medication
- arthritis medication
Please review the suicide warning signs page on this website so you will be familiar with
symptoms of depression and suicide. If you or someone you know has several
of these symptoms, please get help right away.
Please remember that close monitoring of any elderly person is always required, especially
after any stressful life event such as the loss of a spouse.
Also, many elderly people will hide their depression because they do not want to be seen as weak, crazy, or suffering from dementia.
So it is critical to watch closely for any hint of a suicide warning sign or depression symptom. And always
keep the lines of communication open.
If you are an elderly person and need help, please reach out. Talk with family members. Call a friend.
Get into therapy. Take action to help yourself.
And if you or someone you know is suicidal, immediate action is required; so please
read the information on the home page of this website and take action.