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Mental Health in Later LifeTaking a Life Course Approach$
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Alisoun Milne

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447305729

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447305729.001.0001

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Demography, topography and mental health problems in later life

Demography, topography and mental health problems in later life

(p.7) 1 Demography, topography and mental health problems in later life
Mental Health in Later Life

Alisoun Milne

Policy Press

Chapter 1 offers an overview of the UK’s socio-demographic and policy context. The UK has an ageing population that is increasingly diverse and heterogenous. Whilst for many older people health outcomes have vastly improved since the introduction of the welfare state, prevalence of ill health does increase with advancing age. The number of older people living with dementia is 850,000, a figure expected to rise to over 2 million by 2051. Disability, pain, chronic physical illness and dementia are risk factors for both depression and suicide. It is estimated that 30 per cent of older people have ‘depressive symptoms’ and that 1 in 8 of all suicides relate to older people. 4 per cent of older people suffer from ‘anxiety disorder’. Although not mental health problems as such, a growth of the number of older people experiencing isolation and loneliness, problem alcohol issues and social exclusion are contributors. In terms of policy, all four UK nations, have specific policies relating to dementia, on the one hand, and policies relating to preventing and treating functional mental health problems on the other. The former tends to be older age focused whilst the latter extends across the whole adult lifespan.

Keywords:   Ageing population, Mental illness in later life, Mental health problems amongst older people, Policy relating to older people with mental health problems

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