The Mental Health Experiences of Older People During the Pandemic

Introduction

An older person is commonly understood as someone who is over the age of 65. However, it is important to note that there is huge diversity in older age, and each person will have different physical and mental capacities that are related to more than just their chronological age3. The Office for National Statistics estimates that nearly one in five of the UK population (19%) is made up of people aged over 65, which underlines the importance of ensuring that any mental health response addresses the divergence of older people's needs and experiences.

Prior to the pandemic, one in four older people lived with a mental health condition, the most common being depression, which affects around 28% of women and 22% of men, followed closely by anxiety5. The prevalence of mental health problems is higher among specific groups of older people, such as those living in care homes, older carers, older people going through bereavement and those who have multi-morbidities, which is common among older people.

Older couple talking