The rate of suicide among senior citizens is on the rise nationally and across the state, prompting a local nonprofit to work toward educating the community about the issue.
Livingston County Catholic Charities (LCCC) will hold a workshop titled “Senior Care: Suicide Awareness”, on Saturday, January 18th at the Howell Carnegie District Library. The session will offer information on how to recognize red flags, respond, and address the risk of suicide with health professionals.
Beth Newman, who is an Older Adult Specialist with LCCC, says the fastest growing demographic of those that attempt suicide is males that are 85 and older. Between 1999 and 2016, there were more than 232,000 suicides in the U.S. in the age group of 45 to 64. Furthermore, many people within that age group were found to have visited their family physician at least six weeks prior, but did not have their emotional or mental capacity addressed.
Newman says one of the reasons why the rate of suicide among that demographic is so high is because those individuals are often becoming more lonely as their older friends or siblings pass away. Newman says it brings out the notion that no one will live forever and the scary idea that they “could be the next to go”. She also notes that that demographic is more likely to receive medical diagnoses that do not have a promising outcome, which can contribute to an already depressive state of mind.
Newman says the older generation is often overlooked when it comes to the discussion of suicide, making the goal of the session to spread information so that community members can look out for their friends, family and neighbors. The workshop will be held from 11am to 12pm in the Meabon Room at the Library. The event is free and open to the public, and registration is not required. (DK)