Understanding The Condition

Mental Health Services for Older People provide specialised services for:
Older people (65 years and over) experiencing mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression. These people are sometimes referred to by another term; Service Users. Adults of any age with dementia related illness – these people are also referred to as Service Users. Carers who support them – these people are the unpaid carers who are usually a partner, a relative or friend.
Depression affects proportionately more older people than any other demographic group. This is because older people face more events and situations that may trigger depression: physical illness and debilitating physical conditions, loss and bereavement, poverty and isolation. Approximately 15% of older people living in the community show signs of mild to moderate depression but fortunately severe depression is less common at less than 5%.
Dementia currently affects over 700,000 people in the UK and this figure is expected to rise to one million by 2025. Dementia affects one person in twenty over the age of 65 and one person in five over the age of 80. The number of people estimated with dementia in Wales in 2007 was 36,532 (rising to 47,995 in 2025).
Dementia in people under the age of 65 is comparatively rare but there are more than 18,000 younger people with dementia in the UK. It is estimated that around 150 live in the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan area.
These two groups of mental health problems (dementia and other late life mental illness), which commonly affect older people, make up the definition ‘Older People’s Mental Health'; a term which is often used to describe the special needs of this group of vulnerable people in our society, and the services which are available to support them and their carers.
There is in fact a wide range of specialised services in the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan area providing support to older people with mental health problems and their carers in the community. This publication has been designed with the express aim of informing those caring for older people with mental health problems about the network of specialist services which exist in their locality to support them in their care-giving role. Perhaps more importantly, however, it aims to help them gain access to appropriate support services to meet their needs and the individual needs of the person being cared for.

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