Project identifies poor mental health among middle aged homeless people

A London homelessness project plans to develop a project for a growing client group whose chronic alcohol consumption has caused premature ageing.

Staff at Thames Reach Bondway are seeing increasing numbers of people in their 40s or 50s who have the physical health needs of people 20 years older.

Dubbed the “young olds”, the group typically suffer from a form of dementia, incontinence and mobility problems and have challenging behaviour arising from poor mental health.

Although they have high physical care needs, the group are too young and challenging to qualify for elderly care services and often become entrenched in hostels.

Bondway is seeking local authority and government support for a 15- to 20-bed project with support staff.

Meanwhile, research from homelessness charity St Mungo’s has found that rough sleepers between 45 and 64 have a death rate 25 times that of the general UK population. Although 60 per cent have physical health problems, only 42 per cent are receiving treatment for their condition, it reveals.

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