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Mental health and older people

Haddad, M. (2009). Mental health and older people. In: Newell, R. & Gournay, K. (Eds.), Mental Health Nursing: An evidence-based approach. (pp. 288-321). Churchill-Livingston.


- Demographic changes in industrialised societies are producing a rising proportion of older people.

- Optimising older people’s quality of life health is an increasingly important priority for health professionals, governments, and society as a whole.

- There is an overarching need to create a future ‘society for all ages’.

- People are living an increasing proportion of their lives in the years following their normal employment; this ‘third age’ is potentially a time of fulfilment as well as new achievement.

- However, factors such as poverty, isolation, disability, and loss of loved ones are more prevalent among older people and increase the risk of mental health problems.

- The oldest-old are the fastest increasing population segment in industrialised countries and are particularly vulnerable to physical and psychological health problems.

- Dementia, depression, anxiety and delirium are the commonest mental problems among older people.

- Mental disorders interact with existing disabilities to further reduce function and quality of life.

- The rate of suicide worldwide is higher among older people than any other age group and depression is its most important cause.

- Mental health problems are less likely to be detected and treated among older people than other age groups.

- There are effective interventions for most mental disorders experienced by older persons, but less than 1 in 10 depressed older person receives treatment.

- Age related discrimination remains an important source of poor care and reduced quality of life.

- The challenge to create conditions conducive to active and healthy ageing is a vital priority for governments, institutions and civil society. This will involve developing a sustainable mix of various forms of care for older persons including formal and informal care.

Publication Type: Book Section
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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