Information was obtained on all suicides recorded in British Columbia during October 1981-September 1991. 755 cases were identified in persons who were at least 65 years old. Suicide rates were highest in males over 74 years & elderly persons had a higher suicide rate in all 21 health units. Factors influencing suicides were different for elderly males & elderly females. Suicide rates appear to be influenced by social factors in the population as a whole, not just in the elderly population.