Depressed and lonely elderly 'not being treated'
The report adds that depression or severe recurrent sadness is so common in isolated elderly people that it is ignored or dismissed as a natural part of being old.
Jef Smith, general manager of the charity Counsel and Care, which provides support to the elderly and their carers, says the problem is increasing because of more emphasis on community care. In addition, he says, the situation is compounded by demographic changes with people living longer, and social changes with families dispersed or without the means of supporting elderly parents or relatives.
'As good as the objective of community care is in general terms, we must put in appropriate levels of sensitive community help. By definition this group is not going to demonstrate for its rights. It is hidden away, silent and very easy to ignore.'
Mr Smith said that both medical treatment and community support needed to be in place. 'One of our researchers just told me of a conversation she had with an elderly lady. The researcher asked if new pills had helped. The lady said: 'Well they stopped me crying, didn't they'. This perfectly sums up the 'symptom only' approach to treatment,' he said.
The report, Being Cared For, is a discussion document and will be followed by detailed analyses of the realities of the lives of a group of elderly in a London borough, who are depressed. This group is now being identified.
The report drew information from a number of sources. It says that 16 per cent of respondents to one survey were found to have depression 'to a level that intervention should be considered'. This was twice as many as the proportion with evidence of dementia.
It goes on to list seven criteria necessary for good quality of life for the elderly: security, privacy, dignity, independence, rights, choice and fulfilment.
Peter Millward, Eleanor Peel professor of geriatric medicine at St George's Hospital, south London, and president of the British Geriatrics Society, said: 'Depression is not an ageing phenomenon. The major problem is families who do not consider that if someone is deteriorating physically or in spirit or with their ability to cope, they should seek help for that person. We have to get away from this mindset on old age. Old age is not necessarily a time of doom and despair,' he said.
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
LAPD releases haunting crime scene photos from its archives
Peaches Geldof funeral: Bob Geldof leads tributes at emotional service in same church she married husband Thomas Cohen and mother Paula Yates was buried
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Concerns grow among search officials that missing jet ‘may have landed somewhere else’
50-year mystery of the ocean ‘quack’ finally solved by scientists
Ukip election posters: Nigel Farage defends 'racist' campaign anti-immigration campaign ahead of Europe elections
Ukip leader Nigel Farage defends employing German wife, at launch of anti-immigration poster campaign
Is Britain really a land of God? Furious debate after David Cameron claims we are a Christian country
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: Calling Ukip’s posters ‘racist’ is yet another example of shameful Westminster evasion
- 1 William Shakespeare's 450th birthday: 50 everyday phrases that came from the Bard
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Man gives barefoot bus passenger the shoes off his feet
- 4 Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Concerns grow among search officials that missing jet ‘may have landed somewhere else’
- 5 50-year mystery of the ocean ‘quack’ finally solved by scientists
Excellent Salary Package: Austen Lloyd: This is a rare high level opportunity ...
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: This is an excellent opportunity within...
£80000 - £120000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: US QUALI...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: Banking / Finance Associate - We have an exce...