The American Feminist
Till Death Do Us PartExperts estimate that murder-suicides among older couples have doubled in the past seven years. The fear is that as the elderly population continues to grow, the numbers who take their own lives--as well as those of their spouses--will continue to grow. Plagued by illness, isolation, and depression, the elderly often view death as the only way out.
One study of police reports and family interviews found that in half of elderly murder- suicides, the woman's health had taken a serious turn for the worse. However, in two-thirds of all the cases the wives had related that they did not want to die. In 40 percent of these occurrences, the man was suffering from depression.
Men who are 75 to 84 years old have the highest rate of suicide in the U.S., obviously a contributing factor to the number of elderly murder-suicides. Unfortunately, depression among the elderly, a generation hesitant to accept help, continues to be overlooked and undertreated.Colette Moran
Reprinted from The American Feminist, Spring 1996