While the incidence of major depression among older adults (estimated at one-to-five percent for those living independently) isnt as high as other demographic groups, depression rates rise to 13.5 percent for those who require home health care and 11.5 percent for older hospital patients, according to CDC. Other trends make suicide an alarming risk, especially for older men. While women have higher rates of such mental disorders as depression and of suicide attempts, men are more successful at committing suicide than women. Thats largely because men (three times as likely as women to own guns) most often use them to take their lives, according to Scientific American. White men 85 and over are especially at risk: CDC reports that this group commits suicide at four times the rate of the general population. Suicidal people also can become homicidal. A 2007 study in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging examined 225 murder-suicides among couples with at least one partner age 60 or older. The author found that firearms were most often used to carry out the violence. Dementia Another looming mental health issue worrying experts about older adults with guns: Alzheimers disease or another dementia. One in three older Americans have dementia when they die, according to the Alzheimers Association.
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