Older People’s Mental Health

There are over 12 million people aged 65 and over in the UK and this number is growing rapidly.

Most older adults have good mental health and wellbeing, but in common with people of any age, some will develop mental ill-health and some will enter later life with an existing mental disorder. Increased prevalence of long-term physical health conditions, and having more than one condition (multi-morbidity), may increase the risk of depression and anxiety in later life.  

Mental health problems are as common in older adults as in younger, but they are less likely to be diagnosed. Older adults are less likely to be offered the full range of treatments despite evidence that they can respond as well to them as younger people.  

Mental health problems may present differently in later life, which may lead to under diagnosis.   

Protective factors for good mental wellbeing and risk factors for mental health problems are similar at all ages, but there are some specific additional issues to be considered for those aged over 65. Changing life circumstances, such as retirement and caring, can have both positive and deleterious impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Healthy Ageing Resources