Charo’s husband: Older men at highest risk for suicide in the United States

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Charo is mourning the loss of Kjell Rasten, her husband of more than 40 years, after the former businessman and producer reportedly died by suicide Monday afternoon at the couple’s Beverly Hills home.

TMZ reported that the 79-year-old Rasten died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Charo, the Spanish-American entertainment icon of the 1970s, was at their home at the time. Someone at the house called 911, and Rasten was transported to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Charo, 68, accompanied her husband in the ambulance, People reported. Represenatives for Charo did not return media requests for comment.

It’s not yet known if the Swedish-born Rasten, who also worked as his wife’s manager, was dealing with health problems or other issues that would have led to suicide. However, he would be at an age when people around the world become increasingly vulnerable to suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and data from other countries.

According to 2012 statistics from the CDC, cited by the Washington Post, white men 85 and older are more likely to die by suicide than Americans in any other age group. That same data showed that men and women ages 65 and older make up nearly 14 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 16 percent of all suicides in this country. Of the 40,600 Americans who took their own lives in 2012, 6,648 were older than 65.

“Suicidal behavior in older adults (65 years old and over) is a major public health issue in many countries,” according to a 2018 study published in the journal Clinical Interventions on Aging.

That 2018 study also showed that adolescents and young adults have the highest rate of suicide attempts in countries around the world. However, older adults have a higher rate of completing a suicide than other age groups.

Firearms is the most common way that the elderly in the United States complete suicide, and men use firearms more often than women, according to CDC data.

The frail health of some seniors means they may be less likely to survive suicide attempts, the Washington Post reported. A young person might survive an overdose that proves lethal in an older adult, James Ellison, director of the geriatric psychiatry program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass, told the Post.

The reasons why seniors, especially older men like Rasten, are more vulnerable to suicide are complex, but it usually includes depression.

“Depression . . . is an almost necessary condition” in geriatric suicide, Alexandre Dombrovski, a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh, told the Post. “Depression clouds the person’s view of self and the future.”

According to the American Association of Suicidology, other common risk factors include: physical illness; bereavement over the recent death of a loved one; uncontrollable pain or fear of a prolonged illness; social isolation and loneliness; and major changes in social roles, including losing a sense of purpose after retirement.

Rasten married Charo in 1978 in South Lake Tahoe when she was at the height of her pop-culture fame. Charo is a guitarist, singer and comedienne who become known for her long blonde hair, curvaceous figure, vibrant talk show personality and signature “cuchi cuchi” move. Charo had previously been married to musician Xavier Cugat.

Together Charo and Rasten had one child together, Shel Reston, 37, an actor and drummer for a heavy metal band, according to People.

Over the years, the couple appeared on a handful of reality TV shows, including “Wife Swap” in 2015, when they swapped with Charo’s “Love Boat” co-star Jill Whelan.

Rasten and their son also turned up to support Charo when she was a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2017, partnering with Keo Motsepe.

Instagram Photo

On Sunday, presumably the day before Rasten’s death, Charo took to Instagram to proclaim how “happy I am!” She said her new show is “super successful” and joked that her costumes are “very sexy but so tight that if the zipper break, I kill the drummer!”

Instagram Photo

Source: mercurynews
Charo’s husband: Older men at highest risk for suicide in the United States