Navigation Links
Suicide Risk May Be Higher in Senior Facilities
Date:5/18/2010

But recent life losses may underlie the worrisome numbers, researchers say

TUESDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors living in assisted-living and long-term care facilities may have a higher rate of suicide than those who continue living in their own homes, suggests a new report.

People over 65 commit suicide at a rate of about 14 per 100,000 people, but in a study of Italian people living in long-term care facilities, researchers found that the rate of suicide was nearly 19 per 100,000 people.

One reason may be that stressful or troubling events -- such as death of a spouse, illness or a decline in physical function -- may underlie the move to a residential care facility, the researchers say.

"The risk of suicide may be heightened during the first year," said the report's lead author, Carol Podgorski, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester in New York. "There's relocation stress, and that's when they're dealing with whatever caused them to move."

The report was published online May 18 in the journal PLoS Medicine.

Teasing out the exact reasons that cause the increase as well as developing potential prevention strategies is important because nearly one-quarter of all seniors will live in a residential care facility at some point, according to background information in the report.

More than one million seniors in the United States live in assisted-living facilities, most of them female (about 80 percent), the report said. The average age of residents is about 85 years. Many others live in independent-living communities, long-term care facilities, also called nursing homes, and continuing care retirement communities, which include all three.

Overall risk factors for senior suicide include anxiety, substance abuse, psychotic disorders, social dependency or isolation, family troubles or losses, an inflexible personality and access to firearms. Specific risk factors for older people living in a residential home include being widowed or divorced, having a pessimistic outlook, sleeping more than nine hours a day and drinking more than three alcoholic beverages a day.

"Depression is the most important risk factor," said Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of the division of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "But, the vast majority of people who are depressed don't try to take their lives, and we're not so good at predicting who really has a heightened risk of suicide."

The report found that depression rates in residential facilities for seniors were between 22 and 40 percent at admission.

So, what can you do to look out for your loved one?

"As you visit, see if they're engaged in activities and making friends. Are they going to church? Stopping going to church is a red flag. Make sure the person understands that they still have an important role in the family, that they're still needed," advised Podgorski.

As the transition from home to residential facility is occurring, Kennedy said to watch how your loved one is adjusting to the change. "If the stress of preparing for the move is starting to disorient the person, that's a clear indicator that they're going to need extra help."

He added that depression doesn't always present itself as a sad mood; sometimes people who are depressed appear angry and irritable.

Podgorski said that the facilities themselves have to be aware that people are at risk, especially their newest residents. "Facilities have to watch and be vigilant about seeing how people adjust. Retirement communities could probably do a better job of doing routine depression screening on admission," she said.

It's also important to make sure that residents are connected to their medical health providers and that any pain they have is controlled.

If your loved one shows signs of depression or suicidal thoughts, suggest he or she speak with the primary care physician to get a depression assessment. And, be sure you let someone at the facility know what's going on, recommended Podgorski.

"People think that they're alone, but they need to realize that other people have these feelings also," said Podgorski. "If you're depressed, you can't always remember how you used to problem-solve, so it's important to talk to others. Find out how they deal with feelings of hopelessness."

More information

Learn more about depression in nursing home residents from the American Geriatric Society's Foundation for Health in Aging.



SOURCES: Carol Podgorski, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.; Gary Kennedy, M.D., director, division of geriatric psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; May 18, 2010, PLoS Medicine, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Prostate Cancer Diagnosis Raises Suicide Risk
2. Immediate risk of suicide and cardiovascular death after a prostate cancer diagnosis
3. Genetic Variants in Depressed People Raise Suicide Risk
4. HIV Therapy Linked to Fewer Suicides
5. Americans United for Life Files Brief Detailing Abortions Suicide Risk
6. Do men with early prostate cancer commit suicide more frequently?
7. Motherhood a Buffer Against Suicide
8. Kids Suicide Risk Same for All Antidepressants
9. Study Shows Some Anti-Seizure Meds Raise Suicide Risk
10. No One Antidepressant Raises Suicide Risk More Than Others
11. Suicide Leading Cause of Violent Death: CDC
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned ... developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made ... in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library ... City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ... for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, ... presented a Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary ... part of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her ... would lash out at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he ... he would use it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin ... companies that call for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and ... This will restore the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 The Academy of Managed Care ... that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to more easily ... make formulary and coverage decisions, a move that addresses ... medicines. The recommendations address restrictions in the ... the drug label, a prohibition that hinders decision makers ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- According to a new market research ... Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, ... Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts to ... for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. This ... 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing at ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- MedSource announced today that it has selected Datatrial,s ... choice.  This latest decision demonstrates MedSource,s commitment to ... by offering a state-of-the-art electronic data capture (EDC) ... the EDC platform of choice in exchange for ... long been a preferred EDC platform by our ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: