Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adults Mental Health Support

Older People’s Mental Health

MENTAL HEALTH

We all have mental health and we all need to take care of it, especially as we get older. It affects how we think feel and behave as well as determining how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Our mental health changes over time so we need to stay up to date on how to handle changes in our emotional wellbeing.

It is important to note that mental health challenges can develop as we get older, but it is not something that everyone will encounter. But it is important to have some knowledge of how we can help each other with any challenges we may face.

Are there many triggers for mental health challenges?

There can be several potential triggers for mental challenges in older people, for example; physical disabilities, long-term illness (e.g. cancer or heart disease), dementia, change of environment, illness or loss of a loved one, medications and alcohol or substance abuse.

The most common condition that is spoken about when talking about older people is dementia/alzheimer’s disease; however, this is not the only challenge that people face when getting older. It is common for some older people to develop several different mental health challenges and it is just as important for older people to get help as it is for younger people.

Older people can develop any number of mental health challenges, the following are some which are more well-known:

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.

DEPRESSION

Depression

Depression is the most common mental health challenge in older people, and is a very common challenge faced by people of all ages too. This can develop due to lots of reasons regardless of age; such as, loss of a loved one or friend, changes in surroundings, physical disabilities, money, relationships, family and many other reasons.

Older adults can present with the same symptoms as younger adults: Core symptoms (low mood, reduced enjoyment, lack of energy), psychological symptoms (low self-esteem, hopelessness/guilt, suicidal thoughts), and biological symptoms (reduced appetite, weight loss, feeling lower in morning, early wakening, reduced sleep, poor concentration, agitation or slowness).

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.

ANXIETY

Anxiety 

Anxiety challenges are common in older people, and can happen alongside depression. Anxiety can develop due to lots of reasons, such as, loss of a loved one or friend, changes in surroundings, physical disabilities and many other reasons, just like depression.

Fears or worries about aging is popular among older people, as lots of things begin to change. Health worries and issues are common and come hand in hand with aging, as our bodies are not always what they used to be. Mobility can decrease and weight can fluctuate and change which can cause stress. There are lots of causes of anxiety in older people and it cannot always be pinpointed down to one thing.

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.

BEREAVEMENT

Bereavement challenges

Bereavement can happen to anyone at any age, but it is still important for older people to recognise that you can still get help regardless of your age. If you’ve has a death of a loved one, family member or friend, it is important to remember that the feelings you may be having are not bad or wrong. They are a normal part of bereavement and there aren’t any easily found reasons to explain how you’re feeling.

You could feel fear, anxiety, depression, anger, guilt and loneliness. These are all perfectly normal and you can get help to cope with them from several services. You may even find that you’re struggling to keep on top of things you would normally do day to day like housework. This is all normal, and help is out there for you, you can check out our services pages here for a list of services who can help.

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.

INSOMNIA

Insomnia

Insomnia is something that can happen as we all get older; there are lots of reasons why insomnia could develop and everyone’s circumstances are different. Key causes for insomnia can include: going through menopause for women, other hormonal changes, changes in brain activity, changes in natural sleep patterns (time of the year- days getting longer/shorter), medications, social changes, anxiety and depression.

If you’re suffering with insomnia, regardless of age, it is recommended that you seek some help; this can be by going to your local GP or referring yourself to mental health services which will be happy to help.

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.

SOCIAL ISOLATION & LONELINESS

Social Isolation and Loneliness

Social Isolation and Loneliness are two different concepts, but often go hand in hand when it comes to mental health. Social Isolation refers to the separation from social or familial contact, community involvement or access to services. Loneliness however, can be understood as a person having a feeling of a sense of lacking of these things to the extent where they are wanted or needed. Both challenges can go hand in hand although they are different.

It is possible for someone to be isolated without feeling lonely, and lonely without being isolated. For example, an older person could be physically isolated (living on one’s own, not seeing many people) without feeling lonely, a person could be isolated by choice and want physical separation. In a similar way, someone could feel lonely when surrounded by lots of other people. For example, if someone has experienced a loss and family has gathered for support, you can still feel lonely.

The good news is that there are lots of ways that this can be helped. There are lots of services around that have been created in order to improve loneliness and social isolation, all of which can offer helpful advice and support; some often host events which can bring people suffering in the same way together. You can check out lots of support services available on our Who Else Can Help Me? Page.

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.

MEMORY PROBLEMS

Memory Problems

Memory problems can happen to anyone, regardless of age, but it is stereotypically linked with aging. Memory problems and challenges do not necessarily mean you have Dementia. If you are worried about your memory, you should speak to your GP and they may be able to refer you on to services for help. For example, the CPFTs memory assessment services require a GP referral.

Here's the stats: 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. But There are over 40,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK.

Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. This may include problems with memory loss, thinking speed, mental sharpness and quickness, language, understanding, judgement, mood, movement and difficulties carrying out daily activities

There are many different causes of dementia. People often get confused about the difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia. 

Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia and, together with vascular dementia (caused by reduced blood flow to the brain), makes up the vast majority of cases. There are several things that people suffering with dementia can experience. For example:

-  They can become apathetic or uninterested in their usual activities, or may have problems controlling their emotions. 

-  Social situations could be found challenging and interest in socializing can be lost.

Aspects of their personality may change.

-  They may lose empathy (understanding and compassion), they may see or hear things that other people do not (hallucinations).

-  Losing the ability to remember events or fully understand their environment or situations, it can seem as if they're not telling the truth, or are wilfully ignoring problems, when they actually cannot remember.

-  As dementia affects a person's mental abilities, they may find planning and organising difficult.

-  Maintaining a person with dementia’s independence may also become a problem; someone with dementia will therefore usually need help from friends or relatives, including help with decision making.

Suffering with dementia can take its toll on you and the people around you, but the good thing is that there are support services out there to help you and give advice and help you through tough times. Check out our Who Else Can Help Me? page for more services!

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.

DEMENTIA

Dementia:

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a term used to describe a range of disorders or conditions that are affecting the brain. There are several types of dementia, the most common and well known one is Alzheimer's disease. You can have Dementia at any age, not just as you get older, and everyone diagnosed with dementia will experience their own unique symptoms

What are the most common types of Dementia?

The most common types of Dementia are as follows:

Alzheimer's Disease - symptoms are usually mild to begin with and then worsen over time. (Difficulty with language, depressed or agitated and may withdraw from family and friends, memory lapses, problems with special awareness, difficulty making decisions, problem solving and/or disorientation of time or place, a person not recognizing a familiar face.)

Vascular Dementia - caused by small blood clots preventing oxygen getting to the brain. (Progression can be quite erratic as a person my not have a series of blood clots for sometime. People suffering will usually appear to be 'getting better', this is usually temporary, as the damage to the brain can eventually lead to difficulties; e.g. with daily living, attention, memory, decision making and motivation.) 

Frontotemporal - More common under the age of 65. Frontotemporal Dementia represents a group of conditions which are caused due to nerve cells in the brain dying and the nerve pathways becoming damaged in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. (Behavioural Variant Frontotemporal Dementia symptoms can be: changes in behavior or personality, apathy, obsessive or repetitive behaviours, loss of empathy, changes in appetite, difficulties making decisions, problem solving and concentration.)(Primary Progressive Aphasia, which consists of Semantic Dementia and Progressive Non Fluent Aphasia can have the following symptoms: language difficulties, speech or grammar problems, reduced understanding and difficulty recognizing familiar faces or objects.)

Dementia with Lewy bodies - Dementia with Lewy Bodies is caused by a build up of clumps and proteins in nerve cells in the brain, known as Lewy Bodies. (Symptoms of this are: fluctuating alertness, confusion and concentration levels, memory issues, mood changes, struggling with problem solving, spatial awareness, difficulty doing everyday tasks, tremors, slower movement, sleep disturbance, unsteadiness, an increase in falls and visual hallucinations.

 

Although there is no known cure for Dementia just yet, there is still support out there for you, anyone looking after someone with Dementia and anyone looking for more information. Here are some services here to help with Dementia:

Local Services:

  • Huntingdonshire Dementia Action Alliance  - Dementia Action Alliance brings together leading organisations across England committed to transforming health and social care outcomes for people affected by dementia. Dementia Action Alliance captures and promotes best practice, enabling it to benefit many more people. They do this through member Action Plans. These are made public on their website. Members come together to share best practice and learn about the latest trends and innovations from across health and social care. We enable this through our events programme that includes roundtables, conferences and webinars. Members come together to influence system-wide change and campaign on major issues within health and social care affecting people living with dementia.                                        
  • Dementia Carers Support Service The Dementia Carers’ Support Service (DCSS) provides support for carers of people with dementia throughout the journey of their caring role. This is achieved by linking current carers of people with dementia with those who already have first-hand carer experience. These experienced carers are a befriender or buddy and become Dementia Carers’ Support Volunteer.                        
  • Dementia Support Service Cambridgeshire - The Alzheimer's Society dementia support workers offer information and practical guidance to help you understand dementia, cope with day-to-day challenges and prepare for the future. They offer information to people who are worried about their memory and ongoing support to people affected by dementia face to face, over the phone or in writing.                                                                                                                                                                
  • Peterborough Dementia Action Alliance - Dementia Action Alliance brings together leading organisations across England committed to transforming health and social care outcomes for people affected by dementia. Dementia Action Alliance captures and promotes best practice, enabling it to benefit many more people. They do this through member Action Plans. These are made public on their website. Members come together to share best practice and learn about the latest trends and innovations from across health and social care. We enable this through our events programme that includes roundtables, conferences and webinars. Members come together to influence system-wide change and campaign on major issues within health and social care affecting people living with dementia.                                             
  • Love to Move - Love to Move is a seated exercise and movement programme, packed with fun, music and laughter and specially designed to help improve the fitness of mind and body. This exercise programme is unique in the UK and proven to have significant physical, emotional and cognitive benefits for all participants, particularly those living with dementia. Each session lasts one hour and is delivered by an experienced and enthusiastic tutor.                                                                                                                                                                            
  • Dementia Compass - Founded in 2010, Dementia Compass works to support individuals with a cognitive impairment and their families and care partners. We are a volunteer-led, not-for-profit organization based in Cambridgeshire, England.                                                                          
  • Dementia Compass - D'Music'a Community Choir - We welcome anyone who loves music, especially those with memory challenges. We are a group consisting of individuals diagnosed with a dementia or mild cognitive impairment, their care partners and people who are keen on singing, having fun, and supporting opportunities for people living with dementia.

Local Dementia Cafés:

A Dementia Café is a café that people suffering with dementia can visit and be social, along with their friends, families and carers. The cafés are relaxed are give people the opportunity to talk with staff and other people about dementia whilst having a cup of tea and cake. Some cafés host regular talks by a range of local services who promote wellbeing and safety.

 

National Services:

  • Dementia UK - This site offers support and helpful information about dementia and how you can get in touch for more help and info.
  • Alzheimer's Research UK - Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity, dedicated to causes, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and cure. Backed by our passionate scientists and supporters, we’re challenging the way people think about dementia, uniting the big thinkers in the field and funding the innovative science that will deliver a cure.
  • Alzheimer's Society - This site has great information about getting help and getting involved in supporting people with Alzheimer's.
  • Age UK - Age UK's vision is to make the UK a great place to grow older. They do this by inspiring, supporting and enabling in a number of ways.
  • Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk - We support family carers of all ages across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk. We also offer flexible, professional care services to adults and children with a range of disabilities and health conditions.

For more services available for all Mental Health Challenges please check out our Who Else Can Help Me Page!

 

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.

LONG-TERM CONDITIONS

Managing your Well-Being with a Long-Term Condition:

Living with a long term health condition can take its toll on your mental well-being. Long-term conditions can lead to frustration, anxiety, low mood and other mental health challenges. If you live with a long-term health condition it does not mean you will suffer with mental health challenges, everybody had mental health and we all cope with stress and things like health conditions in our own ways. 

 

Managing your well-being with diabetes:

Having the long-term condition of diabetes means that you have to juggle managing your condition along with everyday life. This can be very overwhelming, stressful and can cause frustration. Changes in mood are very common because of this. Research suggests that if you have diabetes, you are more likely to experience challenges with anxiety and depression.

National clinical health guidelines have demonstrated that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is useful for people who are struggling with managing their diabetes. CBT can enhance peoples’ understanding of diabetes care and has also been shown to improve mood and glycaemic control.

Finding Support

CPFT Psychological Well-being Service works alongside and collaborates with GPs, hospitals, diabetes specialist nurses and consultants.  We will help you recognise if you are experiencing anxiety or depression and how this might affect health and management of your diabetes.  Therapists have training and experience in working with people with diabetes and other physical health conditions. Together, we will be able to talk about the range of therapy options that would be most helpful and suitable for you.

 

Managing your well-being with a heart condition:

People living with heart conditions typically experience higher rates of mental health challenges. Some research suggests that you can be three times more likely to suffer with anxiety and/or depression if you are living with a heart condition. Anxiety is the most common symptom (77%) and over half (51%) of people with a heart condition experience symptoms of depression. Despite these strong feelings, many people do not speak to anyone about the emotional or psychological impacts of having a heart condition.  

It can be really helpful to talk with someone about your heart condition. Improved management of stress and depression can help support future changes to your physical and emotional health. This in turn will help to improve your cardiovascular risk profile and lower your risk of further cardiac events.

Finding Support

CPFT Psychological Well-being Service works alongside and collaborates with GPs, hospitals, cardiac specialist nurses and consultants.  We will help you recognise if you are experiencing anxiety or depression and how this might affect health and management of your heart condition.  Therapists have training and experience in working with people with cardiac conditions and other physical health problems. Together, we will be able to talk about the range of therapy options that would be most helpful and suitable for you.

 

Managing your wellbeing with Respiratory Disorders:

People living with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or other chronic respiratory diseases can find themselves feeling low and/or anxious. Research shows that people with COPD are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the general population. Symptoms such as breathlessness, coughing and fatigue can contribute to feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. These feelings can lead to reduced activity levels, which may worsen your condition.  Cognitive behavioural therapy techniques have proven to be successful in psycho-educational breathlessness/health promotion groups as well as individually  in primary and secondary care, with positive outcomes on: psychological wellbeing, coping strategies and use of health services.

Finding Support

CPFT Psychological Wellbeing Service works alongside and collaborates with GPs, hospitals, respiratory specialist nurses and consultants.  We will help you recognise if you are experiencing anxiety or depression and how this might affect health and management of your respiratory condition.  Therapists have training and experience in working with people with lung conditions and other physical health problems. Together, we will be able to talk about the range of therapy options that would be most helpful and suitable for you.

 

Who is CPFT's Psychological Wellbeing Service for? Is if free? And how can I refer myself?

The service is for people aged over 17 years who are normally resident in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are registered with a GP in one of these areas.  We do not have an upper age limit.

The service is free of charge as it is an NHS service.

You can refer yourself Here! You can also call their self-referral team on 0300 300 0055 and they will guide you through the process, let them know that you have a Long-term Condition. The telephone line is open from 9am to 5pm Mon-Fri.

The Psychological Wellbeing Service provides psychological therapy that recognises the difficulties for some patients with long-term physical health conditions including COPD, Diabetes and Cardiac disease including heart failure.

CPFT's Psychological Wellbeing Service aims to help you to improve your well-being, support you to manage your health problem and help you to look at how you can live your life in a more positive way.

We offer a range of treatment options including courses as well as individual therapy, which case take place via the telephone, online or face to face depending on the treatment you receive. The type of therapy we predominantly use is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (see therapies section).

We are based in a variety of locations across the county to make access easier, including at our base sites in Huntingdon, Cambridge, Wisbech, March and Peterborough.  We also work out of many GP surgeries, various rooms in the community such as libraries and some hospital settings.  However, we do not see people in their own home.

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.

RETIREMENT

Retirement is a big event in our lives, for some people is will be a great time. But for some people it can also feel like we’ve lost part of our identity.

When it comes to retiring there’s often quite a few questions we would like answers to, which is why we’ve put together the most popular ones here for you.

Question: What age can I retire at? And can my boss/employer force me to retire at a certain age?

Answer: You can retire at any time you wish, there is no limit to when you can or can’t retire. Your employer cannot legally force you to retire at a certain age anymore; Age UK’s campaign caused the ‘Default Retirement Age’ law to be scrapped in 2011, which means you can continue working if you want/need to.

Your employer can however force/ask you to retire under the law when a valid reason has been given, for example:

·         If the job has, by another law, had an age limit set.

·         If your job requires you to have specific physical abilities and mental abilities.

Should you be forced to retire by your employer then they will have to give you some notice and they will also have to follow fair procedure.

Employers will still have the right to make dismissals and redundancies if you’re not completing your job roles/duties to the correct standard. These decisions must be based off criteria, regardless of age.

 

Question: Have I got to tell my boss/employer about my retirement plans?

Answer: In short no. You do not have to tell your employer about your retirement plans if you do not wish to; however, some employers will ask about your plans as they will be interested in when you plan on leaving the business.

Retiring takes a few months or more of planning, research and discussions. Everyone take this at their own pace and that is okay, it’s a big life event that will cause a lot of changes. For more information about what lifestyle changes you may come across, visit the Age UK website.

 

Question: If I continue to work, will I still get a State Pension?

Answer: You can claim your State Pension when your reach your ‘State Pension Age’. This is determined from your date of birth and your gender. You can find out your State Pension Age here on the GOV.uk website.

When you are getting closer to your State Pension Age you will be given the option to either claim your State Pension payments or delay them. You can still claim your State Pension whilst you’re working; however, some people like to delay their payments until after they have finished working as this means they often won’t have to pay income tax on it.

You can also have a workplace/private pension scheme. This can have a different age as to when you can start receiving it, this can also be whilst you’re still working. Every workplace/private pension scheme will differ from one another so you should ask your employer about how your pension is affected if/when your work arrangements change or if you continue to work past your State Pension age.

 

Question: Have I got to continue paying tax if I continue to work past my State Pension Age?

Answer: Once you’ve worked past your State Pension age you will no longer have to pay National Insurance; some employers will need some proof of age so they can stop National Insurance tax from being deducted from your pay.

Depending on your income, there is a chance you will have to continue to pay income tax on your total income. Your total income will include your State Pension, workplace/private pension and your workplace salary. Some people like to delay their State Pension until they have finished working in order to possibly pay less tax.

 

For more information about retirement, you can visit GOV.uk and Age UK.

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.

WHO CAN HELP

If you are worried that you or someone you know may have a mental health challenge, visit your GP for support and you can access the following websites for more information:

  • AgeUK - Age UK's vision is to make the UK a great place to grow older. They do this by inspiring, supporting and enabling in a number of ways.
  • Alzheimer's Society - This site has great information about getting help and getting involved in supporting people with Alzheimer's.
  • Dementia UK - This site offers support and helpful information about dementia and how you can get in touch for more help and info.
  • Psychological Wellbeing Service The CPFT(Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust) Psychological Wellbeing Service is part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services.  Our aim is to make psychological therapies more accessible to people experiencing common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. You can self-refer using their online form or by calling them up!
  • MindEd For Families - MindEd for Families supports parents and those caring for children and young people in their family when they are concerned about a young person’s mental health or well-being. They also provide support for older people and their families when they are concerned about mental health and well-being, either their own or other family members.
  • Contact The Elderly - Supported by a network of volunteers, Contact the Elderly organizes monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people aged 75 and over who are dealing with loneliness and social isolation.
  • The Silver Line - The Silver Line is the only confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK open every day and night of the year. Our specially-trained helpline team offer information, friendship and advice, link callers to local groups and services, offer regular friendship calls and protect and support older people who are suffering abuse and neglect.
  • Independent Age -  As well as offering regular friendly contact and a strong campaigning voice, Independent Age can provide you and your family with clear, free and impartial advice on the issues that matter: care and support, money and benefits, health and mobility.  
    A charity founded over 150 years ago, we’re independent so you can be.
  • Friends of the Elderly - We are dedicated to providing individual care with dignity that meets your needs. We employ an informal, relaxed approach to ensure that we maintain our home from home feel, but we always deliver our care with absolute professionalism. Our homes provide residential, dementia, nursing and respite care.
  • The Women's Institute - The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/ and the services listed.

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