Mental health is affecting more older people than ever: support our End of Year Tax Appeal by donating to our mental health research.
From our Director:
When I heard about how Robert Brooker had had his life changed after signing up to START, a NARI research program for carers of people living with dementia, I was delighted.
Robert, 63, has been caring for his wife, Sandy, since she was diagnosed with fronto-temporal Dementia (a type of younger onset dementia which is usually diagnosed when the person is in their 50s), four years ago.
Like others in a similar situation, Robert felt overwhelmed at times, isolated and sometimes angry about the situation he found himself in.
But after taking part in the program, which includes relaxation training and counselling via video-conference, he has not looked back. His levels of anxiety and depression are lower, and he knows that he can do more than cope as a carer.
Robert’s experience is helping us to shape policy directions for how Australia supports carers in the future.
According to the World Health Organization, globally, almost 15 per cent of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder. Mental illness can be overwhelming, crippling and isolating, and it seems that the incidence is increasing.
Little is known about the long-term impact of living with mental illness, and this is something NARI wishes to address through research. We know from the many conversations we have had with you, our supporters, that you share this priority.
NARI’s mental health research focuses on people at most risk of depression and anxiety in older age, carers, people with chronic disease and residents of aged care homes.
Over the years, we have helped carers reduce depression and anxiety through internet connection, people with COPD through Befriending and older Chinese people through better identification and screening of mental health issues. The priorities identified through these scoping studies are used by NHMRC and beyondblue to direct their funding in this area.
Our supporters have told us that there is a great need for more predictive tests to enable people to prepare for mental health and ageing, and more preventative strategies that can help us understand and do something about our own mental health as well as strategies to improve wellbeing of aged care residents.
I invite you to join us in our vision of a mentally healthier world for older people. Emotional well-being is as important in older age as at any other time of life. Poor mental health is not a normal part of ageing however, older people can be more vulnerable to loneliness, isolation and depression.
I hope you can continue your support for us and our work in mental health research.
Associate Professor Briony Dow