Unnatural Deaths of the Elderly Population of Sri Lanka: A Descriptive Analysis

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As people age, they may become more vulnerable to injury because of frailty, ill health, or dependency on others. Data from medicolegal death investigation including autopsy and statements from cases reported to 3 medicolegal units in Sri Lanka were analyzed in this study under the strict ethical framework. Of the study population, 265 were male and 75 were female. Mean age was 71.14 years. Commonest manner of death was accidental (62.1%) followed by suicide (32.1%) and homicide (5.6%). Commonest types of incidents were road traffic accidents (26.5%), falls (22.6%), and poisoning (21.2%). Among the road traffic accidents, pedestrians (77.9%) were the majority. Poisoning (59.6%) was the commonest method of suicide. The commonest weapons used in homicides were blunt weapons (47.3%). Association with alcohol was seen in more than 10% of suicidal and accidental deaths. More attention should be given to the elderly people who are using the roads while developing policies by the state. Furthermore, it is high time to think about psychological aspect in the elderly care management specially alcohol abuse and suicidal ideation among them.

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