Assessing the mental health needs of older people

Meeting needs


Effective assessment of needs requires appropriate services to meet those needs. Most older people wish to stay in their own homes and remain independent for as long as possible, with the right support, and this is also true of older people with mental health needs. Older people with mental health needs are entitled to the full range of community care and health services available to other older people, but this may require specific planning or special services. Increasingly, mainstream services such as sheltered housing are recognising that they have a role to play. Other services are adapting, or new services are being developed, to meet the particular needs of, for instance, older people with dementia.

Key research findings

For a more detailed account, see Research Summary 4 .

While there has not been a great deal of systematic evaluation in recent years of which services work best for older people with mental health needs, there is some evidence to suggest that community care services such as home care and day care can be effective in supporting people with a range of needs and preventing deterioration. Services targeted at specific needs and involving continued contact appear to show greater success.

The following are some of the key findings from research:

What you can do as a practitioner


Alzheimer's Scotland has summarised the range of needs experienced by older people with dementia and their families as follows:

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