Suicide risk in homebound elderly individuals: What home care clinicians need to know.
Suicide rates and risk increase with age. Older people are heavy users of in-home services. Many of the reasons that older adults need home care are serious risk factors for suicide. These include disability, physical illness, and other conditions that affect self-sufficiency. Home care providers are well positioned to identify elder suicide risk. This requires some understanding of suicidal behavior, the key risk factors for suicide in elders, the warning signs, and what to do if suicidality is encountered. The suicide prevention field has not recognized home care as a means of reaching suicidal elders. It is critical that this be corrected as elder suicides stand to rise as the elder population increases.