Mental health of older people e-learning course

An introduction to the mental health of older people

Published: 2007 | Free to use | Learning Management System compatible

Screenshot of course This e-learning course raises awareness of key issues, research, messages, policies and approaches relating to the mental health of older people and, in so doing, positively impact on practice.

These e-learning resources are suitable for social work students, social workers, social work support staff, care home staff, home care workers, health/social care workers who deliver long term care in community or institutional settings, voluntary workers and older people themselves.

This e-learning course has not been updated since 2007. It remains available under SCIE’s commitment to share knowledge and information but please be alert to changes in policy or practice since publication.

Course modules

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  • Module 1: An introduction to mental health and older people Open

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    Ageing population statistics, defining old, defining mental health.

    In this learning object you will have the chance to explore the nature and characteristics of the ageing population in the UK, what being 'old' means, and some of the complexity surrounding the concept of 'mental health'.

    This learning object will enable you to:

    • Describe the basic characteristics of the ‘ageing population’ in the UK
    • Understand the key issues surrounding the various ways in which ‘old age’ and ‘mental health’ are defined

    To study this course you must register or login

  • Module 2: Attitudes and images of ageing Open

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    Attitudes to older people, poverty and old age, older people’s own attitudes.

    This learning object is about ways in which people's experience of ageing and mental health are shaped by society's attitudes to older people and later life. You will consider the way age-related images and ideas, displayed in the media and in everyday language, shape our perceptions; but also what we know about older people's own attitudes and aspirations.

    The aims of this learning object are to enable you to:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of some main differences between society’s images and beliefs about ageing and later life and the aspirations and attitudes of older people
    • Discuss the impact of stereotypes of ageing and old age on older people’s lives
    • Evaluate evidence for widely held beliefs about poverty in old age

    To study this course you must register or login

  • Module 3: Risks and protective factors: older people’s mental health Open

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    Importance of mental health, defining mental health, mental health and successful ageing, promoting mental health.

    These learning materials aim to explore mental health in later life. They will review the meaning of mental health, why it is an important part of overall well being and how it relates to successful ageing.

    They will also offer an overview of the different aspects of an older person's life and situation that impact on their mental health and the role that an individual and their family, the community they live in and wider society can play in promoting, or undermining, mental health.

    This learning object will help you:

    • explore the meaning and dimensions of mental health
    • appreciate the importance of mental health as an aspect of successful ageing
    • consider ways in which mental health can be promoted and mental illness prevented

    To study this course you must register or login

  • Module 4: Common mental health problems amongst older people Open

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    Introduction to depression, introduction to dementia, long standing mental ill-health.

    This learning object introduces you to some of the key facts and statistics about mental health in older people. It explains who might be at risk of developing a mental illness as they grow older and why. It also includes information about people who have experienced serious mental illness such as schizophrenia throughout their lives and the main issues facing them as they age.

    The aims of this learning object are to enable you to:

    • Summarise key facts about the prevalence and incidence of major mental disorders in old age
    • Acquire basic knowledge about what characterises the different major mental disorders in old age
    • Describe who is at risk and why and how their needs might be met

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  • Module 5: Understanding the early stages of dementia Open

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    Recognising and diagnosing dementia, living with dementia, community support, values and attitudes in care.

    The main focus of this learning object is the early stages of dementia, including the emotional impact of the onset of symptoms and the diagnosis of dementia on the person concerned and those around them.

    The learning object also considers the importance of community-based support for people with dementia and how social networks can operate in this context.

    Towards the end of the learning object, you will look at the values and attitudes associated with person-centred care, particularly in relation to caring for and working with people with dementia as their condition progresses.

    Wherever possible, we focus on dementia from the perspective of people with dementia and their families and we aim to reflect the diversity of experiences among them.

    This learning object will enable you to:

    • Define the main types of dementia and describe how they are diagnosed
    • Explore what being diagnosed and living with early-stage dementia means to service users and carers
    • Identify the most important aspects of working with people who are in the early to middle stages of dementia

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  • Module 6: Understanding later stage dementia Open

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    Later stage dementia, communication, treatments and interventions, independence, carers and families.

    This learning object focuses primarily on the later stages of dementia and on managing the more significant or prominent challenges - and symptoms - associated with this level of dementia.

    The material aims to reflect, where possible, the experiences of people with dementia and their family carers (henceforth referred to as carers).

    Many of the examples given are located in a care home setting although the issues are also very relevant to supporting a person with dementia in the community.

    This learning object will enable you to:

    • Explore the experience of later stage dementia from the perspective of people with dementia and their carers
    • Understand the symptoms and behaviours associated with alte stage dementia
    • Identify some of the important aspects of supporting a person with dementia and challenging behaviour

    To study this course you must register or login

  • Module 7: Understanding depression in later life Open

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    What is depression and who gets depressed?, diagnosis, risk and protective factors, suicide.

    The main focus of this learning object is depression amongst older people. The learning object begins by highlighting some of the problems with defining and diagnosing 'depression' and then goes on to discuss the estimated numbers of older people that are thought to suffer from the condition.

    Next you will consider what makes people more or less vulnerable to developing depression in later life. Finally you will look at effective treatments for depression and explanations for why it so often remains unrecognised in older people.

    The aims of this object are to:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the main signs and symptoms of depression and how it is diagnosed
    • Understand who experiences depression and why
    • Appreciate the diversity of experiences of depression amongst older people.

    To study this course you must register or login

  • Module 8: Ageism, age discrimination and social exclusion Open

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    Age differentiation and discrimination, ageism, ageism in health and social care, social exclusion.

    In this learning object you are asked to consider issues which are central to understanding the experience of ageing and older age in contemporary society.

    Ageism, age discrimination and social exclusion diminish the quality of life which older people may enjoy. They also threaten their mental health.

    In spite of their negative effect on the daily lives of older people, however, ageism and age discrimination are often unrecognised, ignored, or even compounded in health and social care settings. And social exclusion has only recently been officially acknowledged as affecting older people as well as children and families.

    As you work through this learning object you will be able to read the views of older people talking about their experience of age discrimination. We hope that by the time you complete this learning object you will be sensitised to ageism and its impact on those older people you encounter in your life.

    This learning object will enable you to:

    • Discuss what is meant by the terms 'ageism', 'age discrimination' and 'social exclusion'
    • Recognise ways in which ageism, age discrimination and social exclusion impact on older people in health and social care settings and wider society
    • Suggest ways in which ageism, age discrimination and social exclusion can be challenged

    To study this course you must register or login

  • Module 9: Services for older people with mental health problems Open

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    Service user statistics, policy context, the care pathway, assessment, cross cutting issues.

    In this learning object you will have an opportunity to get to learn about the principal services available for older people at the primary, mainstream, secondary/specialist and tertiary levels by travelling down a virtual ‘care pathway’. Along the way you will have the chance to test you knowledge of relevant statistics and will examine cross cutting issues and assessment.

    The learning aims of this object are to:

    • Provide an outline of the key services for older people with mental health problems and their family carers
    • Introduce the types of needs that mainstream and specialist services meet
    • Introduce a number of issues linked to service usage including assessment of need and payment issues.

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  • Module 10: The life course approach Open

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    The life course, life stories, reminiscence and the biographical approach.

    In this learning object you are introduced to the importance of seeing later life as one phase of an entire course of life from birth to death shaped by earlier life stages and experiences.

    Meaning and identity are important to mental health in later life and require that we can connect past, present and future in our lives. A highly influential theory of the life course which embodies these themes is the psychosocial theory of Erik Erikson, which you will consider in Section 2.

    A life course approach suggests that in order to understand and work effectively with older people we need to see them in the context of their past lives, taking a life story or biographical approach, or through reminiscence. You will consider these approaches in Section 4.

    This learning object will enable you to:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the life course approach to ageing and its relevance to mental health in later life
    • Understand the significance to mental health in later life of approaches which give primacy to meaning and identity: life stories; the biographical approach; and reminiscence.

    To study this course you must register or login

 

Course details

  • Who they are suitable for Open

    These e-learning resources are suitable for social work students, social workers, social work support staff, care home staff, home care workers, health/social care workers who deliver long term care in community or institutional settings, voluntary workers and older people themselves.

  • Terms of use Open

    All material in these resources, including text, graphics, photographs, video and audio is copyright of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), unless otherwise stated. Use of these resources, and import of the resources into Learning Management Systems for educational purposes is freely permitted, but commercial use of any of SCIE’s learning resources is not authorised unless permission is first obtained in writing.

    Please note these courses are provided free of charge on an ‘as seen’ basis. Although SCIE’s courses have been used over many years with almost no reported problems, SCIE cannot provide technical support for their implementation or to investigate or fix any reported technical problems, nor does it warrant that they are fully compliant with all or any technical platform.

    Any known issue with an individual course is noted on the opening page of that course.

    This course was developed using a technology called Adobe Flash, which is not compatible with any Apple/Android platform, and may not work on any mobile device.

  • Learning Management System compatible Open

    This course is fully SCORM compliant. That means they can be loaded into a Learning Management System (LMS) or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), such as WebCT, Blackboard or Moodle, and accessed locally.

    Please note that this course was not designed to export any scores or track progress throughout the resource. Therefore, this course can be freely accessed by users, but there will be no tracking or grading functionality.

    To obtain the SCORM-compliant version of this course, please contact us.

  • Relevant SCIE publications

    Supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care (2006)

    A joint publication by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Social Care Institute for Excellence for health and social care staff who work with people with dementia and their carers.

    Assessing the mental needs of older people (2006)

    Assessing the mental health needs of older people requires an understanding of the complex interaction between specific medical conditions and social circumstances. This guide offers practitioners an opportunity to keep up-to-date with the latest research methods and legislation.

    Other useful websites

    Reliable information is available free of charge on the internet. The following is a selection of journals, publishers, organisations and databases that may be useful to anybody wishing to learn more about mental health and older people.

    • Age Concern - see also the Age Concern report, Improving services and support for older people with mental health problems (PDF file) ’, which you may find useful and relevant.
    • Alzheimer’s Society - Alzheimer’s Society is a non-governmental organisation that aims to raise awareness of all forms of dementia through the co-ordination and co-operation of Alzheimer’s and related disorder organisations in the UK.
    • Carers UK - Carers UK is an organisation providing a wide range of support resources for carers of older people.
    • Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) - The government body that inspects and report on care services and councils to improve social care.
    • Community Care
    • Dementia Services Development Centres Network - A dementia services development centre (DSDC) is an agency or organisation that provides services and information in a specific geographical area on all aspects of dementia and dementia service provision. The information it provides is available to commissioners, service providers and policy makers.
    • Department of Health
    • Help the Aged
    • Joseph Rowntree Foundation
    • National care standards - The National Care Standards Commission is responsible for regulating both care homes and home care for older people. Copies of standards are available to download from the Department of Health website (in ‘ Publications and statistics/Legislation/Acts and Bills’).
    • Journal of Dementia Care - The Journal of Dementia Care is a multidisciplinary, bi-monthly journal aimed at all professionals working with people with dementia.
    • Mental Health Foundation - The Mental Health Foundation runs a variety of projects on dementia including Dementia Advice and Support Services (DASS), Dementia Research Initiative and Growing Older for People with Learning Disabilities (GOLD).
    • Mind - Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales.
    • Princess Royal Trust for Carers - The Princess Royal Trust for Carers is the largest provider of comprehensive carers support services in the UK.
    • Relatives and Residents Association - The Relatives & Residents Association provides support for older people needing, or living in, residential care and the families and friends left behind.