What can I do?
Use the tips about Having the conversation with older people about anxiety and depression (279kb pdf) from Beyond Blue.
Check out the resources from Beyond Blue to be confident in knowing what to say and why when talking with older people.
If anxiety or distress is related to the perception of imminent death, it may be helpful to describe the process leading to death. This newspaper article may help support discussions about death and dying.
In older people receiving palliative care, consider using:
- Two-Question Screen or the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) to screen for depression
- Rating Anxiety in Dementia scale (RAID), Geriatric Anxiety Inventory (GAI) or the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to screen for anxiety.
For people with clinically significant depressive symptoms and cognitive impairment, actively treat depression prior to an assessment of dementia.
Tailor the treatment of a mental illness to the severity of symptoms, the person's clinical condition and their prognosis.
Put in place a Suicide Safety Plan from Beyond Blue for people to use when they are feeling unsafe or suicidal.
Recognise the role of carers and monitor their wellbeing and offer support where possible.
Pass on information for carers and families caring for someone with a mental health condition including the Head to Health website.
- Older people with serious mental illness may require assessment and advice from mental health clinicians so that their care can be appropriately adjusted.
- The person with who has a life-limiting illness coupled with a mental illness may be experiencing extreme loss. They may believe that because of their mental illness they have not lived their life to the fullest and hence are at risk of greater distress than the general population.
If the person you are caring for needs to talk to someone immediately, telephone one of the following: