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Rev Med Liege. 2002 Feb;57(2):91-6.

[Suicide in the elderly].

[Article in French]


This article shows the different aspects of suicide in older people. The numerical ratio between suicide and suicide attempt decreases with age. Among female, under 25 years old, this ratio is 1 suicide for 160 suicide attempts. Among male, the margin is smaller because we have 1 suicide for 1.2 suicide attempts. Suicide rates among the elderly are the highest of any age group. Widowhood, social isolation, somatic illness, and major depression are the most important risk factors. Among the elderly, suicide is more radical. Hanging and drowning represent the principals modes of suicide. The prevention is very essential but difficult because of a great number of various clinical situations associated with suicidal risk. A substantial proportion of late life suicides have contact with their primary care providers prior to their death. This offers a unique role for general practitioners who should be well prepared to diagnose and treat depression in older patients.

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