Background: Factors associated with the wish to die should be investigated in order to gain more opportunities for preventive interventions targeting older adults at risk for suicide. The goal of the research was to study the prevalence and associated factors of wishes to die in older adults living in the community using the data from a survey on the prevalence of mental disorders in this population.
Methods: With a representative sample of community living older adults aged 65 years and over (N = 2777), we compared individuals with the wish to die (n = 163) to those without the wish to die on the basis of the presence and severity of daily hassles, physical illness, and sleep quality.
Results: Logistic regression revealed that when depression and sociodemographic variables were held constant, self-rated physical health, number of chronic illnesses, number and intensity of daily hassles, as well as sleep problems were significantly associated with the wish to die in older adults. Painful illnesses and daytime dysfunction due to sleep problems were also associated factors with the wish to die.
Conclusion: Since desire for death is the first step into the suicidal process, health professionals should seriously consider the important and unique contribution of these variables in order to have more opportunities for detection and intervention.