Elderly depression

Elderly depression is not being treated the same as depression amongst young people …

“The elderly are being fobbed off with pills for mental health problems instead of receiving therapy,” claims the Mail Online, while the Daily Telegraph reports that “NHS ageism is blocking older people’s access to talking therapies”.

The above claims are based on a new review which is looking into older people’s experience of seeking help for depression. Psychological and talking therapies are the treatments of choice for younger people with mild to moderate depression, yet referrals for older people are very low.

27 studies that used interviews or discussion groups with GPs and community nurses to explore how they manage depression in older people were looked at in order to come to these conclusions. It was revealed that many healthcare professionals felt that depression in older people was often associated with social isolation and physical decline.

Further, the potential complex needs of many older adults mean that they often had to focus on addressing physical problems, like frailty, leaving the signs of depression untreated.

Another issue noted was that access to psychological and talking therapies is highly variable across the UK. Many people involved with the review said that they faced the “postcode lottery” of being restricted by what was available in their area.

The findings highlight the importance of addressing mental health symptoms in older age, especially amongst an age group who potentially find it very difficult to discuss these types of issues.

Ann-Marie Matthews is a solicitor in the private client team at Barker Gotelee, Solicitors in Suffolk.

Suffolk LPA Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk