The Importance Of Older Adult Suicide

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Suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention are important areas of consideration for all counselors. While any area of counseling may be impacted by issues related to suicide, the risk of suicide associated with older adults is a growing area of concern. In the next 10 years, the entire baby boomer generation will cross into the older adult age group. This development is likely to highlight the already disproportionately higher rate of suicidal ideation and completion among older adults. Sawyer and Williams (2012) have conducted research to address this issue and to provide counselors with information for developing a comprehensive approach for working with older adults at risk of suicide. Their study focuses on Americans of at least 65 years of age and considers physical, psychological, and social aspects related to aging. They also review current gerocounseling therapeutic models including Cognitive Reappraisal, Reminiscence Therapy, Dignity Therapy, …show more content…
Sawyer and Williams (2012) report that older adults make up roughly 13% of the current United States population but account for 19% of US suicides. The current rate of geriatric suicide is commensurate to one older adult suicide every 90 minutes. While it is true that older adults attempt suicide at lower rates than other populations, they are more likely to experience suicidal ideation and to complete attempted suicides. Other major risk factors for older adult suicide include widowhood, depression, substance abuse, past attempts of suicide, being male, being white, and social isolation. Surprisingly, cases involving terminal illness do not demonstrate a significant rise in the risk of suicide compared to individuals with non-terminal chronic illnesses. Along with knowing these risk factors, counselors should become familiar with common difficulties associated with the aging

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