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Supporting frail older people with depression and anxiety: a qualitative study

Frost, R, Nair, P, Aw, S, Gould, RL, Kharicha, K, Buszewicz, M and Walters, K (2019) Supporting frail older people with depression and anxiety: a qualitative study. Aging and Mental Health, 24 (12). pp. 1977-1984. ISSN 1360-7863

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Objectives: Depression and anxiety are common in later life, particularly when people are frail. This leads to reduced quality of life, faster decline in physical health and increased health/social care use. Available treatments are commonly not tailored to people with frailty. We explored frail older peoples’ experiences of depression and/or anxiety and how services could be adapted to their needs. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with 28 older people in the UK purposively sampled for practice location and severity of frailty and anxiety/depression. We asked about symptoms, interactions with physical health, help-seeking, treatments and what might help in future. We audio-recorded and transcribed interviews, using thematic analysis to inductively derive themes. Results: Frail older people had low expectations of their wellbeing at this point in life due to multiple physical health issues and so anxiety and mild depressive symptoms were normalised. There was a particular reluctance and uncertainty regarding help-seeking for anxiety. Treatments were considered appropriate where they aligned with coping skills developed over their lifetime, and facilitated independence and problem-solving skills. Most older people felt their knowledge of mental health was limited and relied upon information about and endorsement of therapies from an expert. This was usually their GP, but access was often problematic. Online methods of accessing information and therapies were not popular. Conclusion: Mental health support for frail older people needs to address late-life anxieties as well as depression, account for physical health issues, align with older people’s need for independence and facilitate coping skills.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Depression; Anxiety; Qualitative Research; Quality of Life; Aged; Frail Elderly; Depression; anxiety; frailty; qualitative; older people; Aged; Anxiety; Depression; Frail Elderly; Humans; Qualitative Research; Quality of Life; 11 Medical and Health Sciences; 16 Studies in Human Society; 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences; Geriatrics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Nursing & Allied Health
Publisher: Informa UK Limited
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2023 14:46
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2023 14:46
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/13607863.2019.1647132
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22036
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