Murder-Suicides Among Elderly Driven by Illness, Depression

About every two weeks in Florida, an elderly man kills his wife and then himself. Research shows it is almost always the man, and almost always involves Alzheimer’s or some other serious illness, afflicting the wife and overwhelming the husband, who is perhaps ill himself and now placed in the unfamiliar role of full-time caregiver. β€œIt’s a killing out of depression and desperation, which is usually why the killer kills themselves as well,” said Donna Cohen, a professor at the University of South Florida who has studied aging for about 40 years. She is also a co-founder of the National Alzheimer’s Association. Cohen’s research produced the alarming time frame of an elderly murder-suicide about every two weeks in Florida, which has one of the nation’s highest percentages of seniors in its population. And although there is no national database on murder-suicides among seniors, experts on aging say couples dying this way is becoming more and more common β€” the typical case being a man fatally shooting his ailing wife before turning the firearm on himself. But those same experts say it doesn’t have to end this way β€” there are resources such as caregiver support groups, and doctors can help elderly patients confront the diagnosis of serious illness head on and prepare the couple for the difficult times ahead.

Source/more: Daytona Beach News-Journal

David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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