Suicide is a major public health concern for older adults, who have higher rates of completed suicide than any other age group in most countries of the world. Older men are at greatest risk. Reduction of suicide-related morbidity and mortality in this age group hinges on systematic study at each point in the suicide preventive intervention research cycle. Improvements in systems for surveillance of late-life suicidal behavior, particularly attempted suicide, are needed to further develop the foundation on which to evaluate differences in the elderly subgroup, over time, and in different locations, and to better assess changes in response to interventions. This article provides an overview of suicide in later life and a foundation on which to base decisions about the design and implementation of preventive interventions.