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Why are Suicide Rates for Seniors Skyrocketing?

Why are Suicide Rates for Seniors Skyrocketing?
November 30
17:17 2018

According to the American Federation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is currently the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Approximately 45,000 people in the United States die every year. For every successful suicide, it is estimated that at least 25 failed suicides are attempted for every successful suicide. Besides of the loss of human life and the devastation it leaves behind with family and friends, suicides cost the US about $69 billion a year.

If you listen to the mainstream media, you will think that teens and young adults have the highest suicide rates. In fact, their rate of suicide has increased over the past 12 years and much of that has been directly linked to the increase popularity of mobile phones and social media.

However, you may be surprised to learn that these young age groups really don’t have the highest suicide rates. Turning the American Federal for Suicide Prevention:

“In 2016, the highest suicide rate (19.72) was among adults between 45 and 54 years of age. The second highest rate (18.98) occurred in those 85 years or older. Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2016, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 13.15.”

In another report:

“Overall rates of suicide in the United States have jumped by 25 percent since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…”

“Suicide among seniors has increased 12 percent nationwide since 2014, according to United Health Foundation.”

Having once planned and looked forward to my own suicide, I think I understand better than many what can drive a person to want to end their own life.

In my case, I was 19 and just became disillusioned with life in general. I lived in Arizona where I saw tens of thousands of older people that came there to die after they retired. I figured that most everyone was destined to work their entire life, then retire and die and I asked for what? There was no real answer and I decided I didn’t want that, so I was going to just check out, mostly because of a lack of purpose and hope.

A few years later, I worked as a night orderly in the intensive care ward at a nursing home and had the opportunity to speak to some of the residents that were lucid enough to talk to. Most of them felt despair, loneliness and uselessness. They felt that they were more of a burden on everyone than anyone else.

Is that why so many seniors are turning to suicide?

According to Butler Behavioral Health Services CEO Randy Allman:

“We have seen an increase in seniors (seeking help). We’ve seen an increase in why they’re coming: Social isolation, feeling lonely, feeling like they’re not in a purposeful lifestyle, lack of healthcare, lack of activities.”

As many seniors, especially men, lose their independence, social connections and sense of usefulness, they are turning to suicide. Face it, many men have lived lives of masculine pride and when they lose that pride, they lose everything.

The best way to prevent their suicide is to keep them in social contact with family and friends. Get them involved in something, anything even if it’s a volunteer activity. Keep them plug in or they may pull the plug and check out.

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