Suicide Among Elderly Men on the Rise

06-9-04 - Authorities have confirmed a murder suicide took the lives of an elderly couple in Whitesboro. 88 year old James Melton and 84 year old Imogene Melton were found dead in their home on Friday. A preliminary autopsy shows James smothered and strangled his wife and hung himself. Family members say James suffered from cancer, but his wife was in good health.

Experts say suicide among the aging population is a growing trend, especially among men 85 years old or older. Statistics show 43 out of every 100,000 elderly men commit suicide.

Dr. Jamie Knapp is an Associate Sociology professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He has studied gerontology and the aging process. He says, unlike teenagers who attempt suicide, elderly men tend to plan their deaths and have the highest success rate of suicides in the United States.

Experts say several circumstances such as a loss of status, financial opportunity and declining health most affect an elderly male’s decision to end his life.