Treatment of older people under fire

Charity Mind has launched a campaign to tackle the “discrimination” and “lack of choice” in the treatment of older people with mental health problems.

In a report this week, it argues that the range and quality of treatments available in many parts of the UK decreases when a person reaches 65 and they are transferred from younger adults’ to older people’s services.

Although government policy states that there should be no automatic transfer, a report released to coincide with the campaign launch this week claims the reality is different, with local mental health teams not allowing over-65s to use their facilities.

It argues the emphasis on mental health risk is lost as a person’s care management regime changes – from the care programme approach to the post-65 single assessment process.

And funding criteria set by local authorities mean local Mind projects are forced to operate age barriers on their services and, in one case, segregate older and younger groups.

The study, based on a survey of 489 over-50s, finds they feel less effort is put into discussing treatment options with them because of their age.

Some report ageism in their GP surgery or complain of being treated as “batty old age pensioners” or like children.

The Access All Ages campaign demands that older people be given the same level of support as the rest of the population.

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