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Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging$
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Barbara Berkman and Sarah D'Ambruoso

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173727

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173727.001.0001

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Older Adults at Risk for Suicide

Older Adults at Risk for Suicide

Chapter:
(p.149) 13 Older Adults at Risk for Suicide
Source:
Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging
Author(s):

Margaret E. Adamek

Greta Yoder Slater

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173727.003.0013

This chapter focuses on suicide among older adults. Adults age 65 and over have the highest suicide rate of any age group in the United States. Suicide among older adults is a complex phenomenon, with many risk factors and seemingly few protective factors. A variety of risk factors, including age, gender, race, physical and mental health, multiple losses (e.g. retirement, widowhood, functional ability), and access to lethal means, have been associated with increased suicide risk in late life. Older men have a suicide rate about 5.5 times that of older women. Social workers need to be aware of the risk factors for suicide among older adults: age, race, gender, physical and mental health, cumulative loss, and access to lethal means. They need a better understanding of how multiple risk factors interact to increase the suicide risk among this population.

Keywords:   aging, elderly, suicide rate, risk factors, social work practice

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