1917 Words8 Pages
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. The theory behind this 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. The purpose of this paper is to expand upon and prove this theory by gathering statistics about suicide in older adults, and by obtaining the information of scholarly sources by summarizing their views as it relates to the above mentioned theory.
Official suicide statistics identify older adults as a high-risk group (Mireault & Deman, 1996). In 1992, it was reported that older adults comprised about 13% of the U.S. population, yet accounted for 20% of its suicides; in contrast, young people, ages 15-24, comprised about 14% of the population and accounted for 15% of the suicides (Miller, Segal, & Coolidge, 2001). Among older persons, there are between two to four suicide attempts for every completed attempt (Miller, Segal, & Coolidge, 2001). However, the suicide completion rate of older adults is 50% higher than the population as a whole. This is because older adults who attempt suicide die from the attempt more often than any other age group. Not only do elders kill themselves at a greater rate than any other group in society, but they tend to be more determined and purposeful (Weaver & Koenig, 2001).

Studies of Depression and Suicide in Older Adults
Depression in Older Adults
A study was conducted examining the relationships between disease severity, functional impairment, and depression among a sample of older adults with age-related macular degeneration. It showed that the relationship between visual acuity and physical function was moderated by depressive symptoms (Casten, Rovner, & Edmonds, 2002). It appears that when faced with vision loss, depressed persons tend to generalize their disability to activities that are not necessarily vision dependent. They seem to adopt the attitude of not being able to see leads to not being able to do. This attitude is in line with the cognitive theory of depression in which depressed persons engage in faulty information processing (Casten, Rovner, & Edmonds, 2002).

Suicide in Older Adults
A study about older adult suicide was c...

... middle of paper ...

... adults, reasons for depression in older adults, reasons for suicide in older adults, and included studies on depression and suicide in older adults. A review of suicide notes from older adults was also conducted. It was found that the theory to be corroborated was successful. It is true, based on the findings from the above mentioned sources, that depression and suicide are increasing in prevalence among older adults due to their failing physical and mental health. There are several aspects to physical and mental health, however they appear to be the main causes for the increase in depression and suicide among older adults.
Reasons for depression among older adults briefly include anxiety, cognitive dysfunction, genetic factors, interpersonal relations, and stressful life events. Reasons for suicide among older adults can be briefly summarized by physical and psychiatric illnesses, unbearable psychological pain, cognitive construction, indirect expressions, inability to adjust, interpersonal relations, rejection-aggression, alcohol abuse, identification-egression, visual impairment, neurological disorders, malignant disease cardiovascular disease, and musculoskeletal disorders.

More about Depression

Open Document