Management of anxiety and depression in frail older people: a qualitative study
1 October 2017 to 31 May 2018
Project No: 378
Funding round: FR 13
Depression and anxiety are a significant problem in later life. Frail older adults, who are experiencing difficulties with everyday activities including leaving their home and high levels of tiredness/weakness are four times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. This may increase their risk of becoming more vulnerable, having poorer memory and dying sooner.
Currently, treatment options for frail older adults with depression or anxiety are limited. NHS community services for people with frailty mostly focus on improving their physical health or reducing loneliness, whilst ‘talking therapies’ for depression and anxiety in later life often rely on regular attendance at a venue outside the home. These services may be less relevant and accessible to frail older adults who are experiencing difficulties with everyday activities and low energy levels. There is also evidence that frailer older adults do not always seek help for anxiety and depression. Frail older people often have regular visits at home from nurses and home care workers, but there is little current training for these professionals in supporting people with depression and anxiety.
There is a need for accessible, relevant and effective support for anxiety and depression, tailored to the needs of frail older adults with difficulties leaving the house. As a first step, we will interview 25-30 older adults who have symptoms of anxiety or depression and have difficulties accessing services. We will ask them about their experiences of anxiety/ depression, barriers/facilitators to seeking help and how they can be best supported. We will identify how existing services can be tailored to older adults with frailty, and potential new forms of support. This will allow us to design a new service or adapt existing services to be relevant and suitable for frailer older people with depression or anxiety.
Amount awarded: £56,833