Enhancing our mental health response for older people in our community entails supporting those who are living independently as well as those in residential aged care facilities.
Our Healthy Ageing Service Response, delivered by Eastern Health in partnership with St Vincent’s Hospital, will address the holistic needs of older people aged 65+ and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 55+.
Factors increasing the risk of mental health problems in older age include poor physical health, a history of mental health problems, life transitions, new medical illness, losses in life, social isolation, and adverse life events.
Generally, people in the community over the age of 65 years have poor access to mental health services. Those living in residential aged care facilities are particularly challenged, experiencing mental illness at a significantly higher rate than those people living in the community.
Recognising the particular mental health challenges facing older persons, the Healthy Ageing Service Response will entail:
- identifying people at risk of mental illness
- providing support and workforce training in mental health to GPs, practice staff, and residential aged care facility staff to drive collaborative team-based care
- increasing support to older people with mental illness living in the community or in residential aged care facilities, and their families
The Healthy Ageing Service Response involves a ‘whole of person’ approach, taking into consideration other support needs including alcohol and drug treatment, suicide prevention, psychosocial support, housing, and physical health.
A trial program, Mental Health and Primary Care Partnerships Program, has been underway with St Vincent’s Aged Mental Health Service for older people living in the inner east (Boroondara) area of Melbourne.
See resources here:
- Healthy Ageing Service Response for GPs
- Healthy Ageing Service Response for RACFs
- Mental Health and Primary Care Partnership Program trial