Experiences and Motivations Underlying Wishes to Die in Older People Who Are Tired of Living: A Research Area in Its Infancy

Omega (Westport). 2014;69(2):191-216. doi: 10.2190/OM.69.2.f.


The wish to die in older people who are tired of living and the possibilities to organize death are currently being discussed within the debate on self-determination and physician-assisted suicide. Until now insight into the experiences and thoughts of people who are tired of life but not suffering from a severe depression or a life-threatening disease is lacking. Studies focussing specifically on this topic are rare. This review provides an overview of this research area in its infancy. The existential impact of age-related loss experiences play an important role in developing a wish to die. Other influencing factors are: personal characteristics, biographical factors, social context, perceptions and values. Further research to experiences and motivations underlying these specific age-related wishes to die and the existential impact of the loss-experiences seems necessary to deepen the understanding of this group of older people and for the development of policy and good care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged / psychology*
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Loneliness / psychology
  • Male
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Social Support
  • Social Values
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide / prevention & control