This debate article aims to evaluate whether current diagnostic and therapeutic options for suicidal geriatric patients with depression suffice, and which adapted strategies might be helpful. We hope to encourage clinicians to consider special approaches when treating the elderly.
Suicide in old age is a major public health problem, as the suicide rates are highest among those aged 60 years and older in most European countries. Although pharmacological treatment options are relatively easy for older patients to obtain, their access to standard psychotherapy is limited. The reasons for this are i) the widely shared attitude about the effectiveness of psychotherapy for older people and ii) the limited access to standard psychotherapy due to their immobility.
New psychotherapeutic methods need to be developed. Psychotherapy at the patient’s home seems to be a new approach to accommodate that individual’s personal circumstances and make effective therapy possible.