Help for Seniors
For most people, psychological well-being increases later in life, where people report less satisfaction in midlife and more at either end of the age spectrum. Paradoxically, though, suicide rates rise sharply as age progresses. Ongoing thoughts of depression and hopelessness should not be considered a normal part of aging.
Unfortunately, older adults do not normally seek treatment for mental health problems, contributing to suicide risk. As the baby boomers are joining the ranks of older Americans, the elderly are the fastest-growing segment of the population, and hence, the issue of later life suicide is a major public health priority.
- Older Americans made up 14.9% of the U.S. population but accounted for 17.9% of reported suicide deaths.
- West Virginia ranked 13th in suicide among older adults in 2015.
- Suicide is the 16th leading cause of death among older adults in West Virginia.
- In 2010, in the older American population (65+), there was one suicide every 90 minutes, accounting for approximately 16 suicides each day – a total of 5,994 suicides.
- 90% of older adult suicides were among males, with a rate of 50.1 per 100,000.
- Over the age 65, there is one estimated suicide for every 4 attempted suicides.
Risk factors are consistent across the lifespan, with some of the more commonly associated being:
- Substance Abuse
- Social Dependency or Isolation
Warning signs look different in everyone. In the older Americans, you may see:
- Unrelenting low mood
- Breaking medical regimens such as taking prescriptions, attending appointments and following diets
- Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Decreased self-care or grooming
- Putting affairs in order, making changes a will
- Stockpiling pills or obtaining other lethal means
- Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
- Recent impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risk
If you or someone you know is exhibiting these risk factors, it is important to know that there is hope and help available. Once you have recognized the signs, you need to respond to the risk by asking about suicide. If you are thinking it, they may be as well. Once you are aware that there is a risk for suicide, there are many opportunities for you to react in seeking help.
- Actively encouraging the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.
- Removing firearms, pills and other potential means from the area.
- Stay with the person until they get additional help.
- Call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (9-8-8) for additional assistance.
Resources for Seniors
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need help, call or text 9-8-8 now. You will be routed to the closest possible crisis center in your area.
Crisis Text Line is free 24/7 support at your fingertips where every texter is connected with a real-life, trained Crisis Counselor. All Crisis Counselors are volunteers, who donate their time to helping people in crisis. Text 741741 or send a message on WhatsApp.
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a nonprofit, non-artisan organization. With a membership of more than 37 million, AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security and retirement planning.
The mission of Grief Speaks is to normalize grief in our “get over it” and “move on” society. The vision is to give every child, teenager and adult permission to grieve in his or her own way and time, through all different types of losses and transitions.
The National Council on Aging is the nation’s leading nonprofit service and advocacy organization, representing older adults and the community organizations that serve them. Their goal is to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. For more than 60 years, NCOA has been a trusted voice and innovative problem-solver, helping seniors navigate the challenges of aging in America.
SeniorLiving.org began out of the frustration of being a remote caregiver for a family member in need. The quest began in 2006 and now they have compiled more photos, reviews and other details than any other site. Senior Living provides every senior living option and are constantly updating and improving the database. The articles are written by experts in senior living, and many include references to government sites where the real facts come from.
This top-ranked site now has over 4,450 pages of humor, nostalgia, senior advocacy and useful information for seniors 50+.
WebMD has created an organization in order to fulfill the promise of health information on the Internet. WebMD provides credible information, supportive communities and in-depth reference material about health subjects that matter to you. They are a source for original and timely health information as well as material from well known content providers.