Signs that an Older Adult May Be at Risk of Suicide

Older adults may show verbal, behavioral, situational, and other signs of suicide. If you are experiencing any of these signs please tell someone. If you are a friend or family member, these signs should prompt you to get help.

Source: Osgood, N. 1985, Suicide in the Elderly, A Practitioners Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment, Aspen Publications

Verbal Signs:


  • I'm going to end it all
  • I'm going to kill myself


  • What's the point of going on?
  • Who cares if I am dead anyway?
  • You would be better off without me
  • Soon you won't have to worry about me anymore

Behavioral Signs:

  • Purchasing or owning a gun
  • Stockpiling pills
  • Making or changing a will (if it does not seem reasonable)
  • Giving away possessions
  • Unexplained behaviors or rejection of friends or family
  • Substance, medication or alcohol abuse
  • Loss of understanding, judgment or memory

Situations Which May Precipitate Suicidal Thoughts:

  • Recent move
  • Death of a spouse, child, or friend
  • Diagnosis of a terminal illness
  • Recent arguments with family members
  • Serious problems in relationships

Symptoms Which May Accompany Suicidal Thinking:

  • Depression
  • Depression accompanied by anxiety
  • Significantly increased tension and agitation
  • Dependency
  • Isolation
  • Rigidity

Remember to Acknowledge - Care – Tell (ACT)®


Hurting yourself is NEVER the answer. There is help available…talk to someone now

For immediate help call

Riverside Emergency Services

Newton Wellesley Hospital

Samariteen Hotline
1-800-252-TEEN (8336)

Samaritan Helpline
1-877-870-HOPE (4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)