Elder Suicide

Elder Suicide

Durkheim's Vision

By: Stephen M. Marson

Publication date: 2019
ISBN: 978-0-87101-541-9
Categories: Practice & Policy

Suicide among the elderly occurs at a higher rate than those of other age cohorts, is more successful, and has the lowest rates of failed attempts. Gerontological practitioners must be aware of what leads to elder suicide, as the victims are unlikely to call attention to the matter themselves before they make an attempt.
Rather than focusing on psychological diagnoses, Marson uses Durkheim’s theory to identify fatalistic, anomic, egoistic, and altruistic environmental circumstances that create suicide potential.
Marson addresses these four dimensions and explores the gerontological research and social history that illustrate the evidence. He presents intervention strategies that will help practitioners to identify social factors (for example, age, gender, education, and marriage) that provide clues into the potentially suicidal patient and establish an intervention strategy to address suicide based on the social environment.

 

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Suicide among the elderly occurs at a higher rate than those of other age cohorts, is more successful, and has the lowest rates of failed attempts. Gerontological practitioners must be aware of what leads to elder suicide, as the victims are unlikely to call attention to the matter themselves before they make an attempt.
Stephen Marson has spent over 40 years as a practicing social work gerontologist, studying the sociological theories for suicide intervention of elderly clients. Ultimately, Marson determined that Emile Durkheim’s theory of suicide was the perfect fit for understanding suicidal distress in the elderly. Rather than focusing on psychological diagnoses, he uses Durkheim’s theory to identify fatalistic, anomic, egoistic, and altruistic environmental circumstances that create suicide potential.
Marson addresses these four dimensions, and explores the gerontological research and social history that illustrate the evidence. He then presents various intervention strategies that will help practitioners to identify social factors (for example, age, gender, education, and marriage) that provide clues into the potentially suicidal patient and establish an intervention strategy to address suicide based on the social environment.
This unique work provides the theory and tools necessary for practitioners to work with the elderly, whose struggles with social and physical changes can lead to suicide.

“The reasoning and emotion that go into the ominous decision to commit suicide makes us ponder. To help us understand this process, Stephen Marson presents poignant and provoking observations that do not fit neatly into the myths of suicide, aging, and life satisfaction. He provides the stimulus for professionals and laypeople to reexamine practice strategies and ethical underpinnings when working with aging adults.”

Daniel Pollack, JD, MSSA, MSW
Professor, School of Social Work
Yeshiva University, New York

Pages: 184
Language: English
Publisher: NASW Press
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Stephen M. Marson

Books: Elder Suicide