Older People and Mental Health

Factors which lead to Social Isolation


Some facts:


Isolation and Loneliness

  • 10% of older people (aged 65 and over) leave their home once a week or less 
  • 3% of older people (aged 65 and over) may not leave their home over a month

(Source: Age UK 2017)


Suicide Prevalence:

  • Women- 5/100,000
  • Men- 14/100,000

 These statistics echo those of the 15-24 year olds

(Source: Scottish Trends 2018)

'I'm Lost'

I have had my illness since I was 22 years old, that’s over 40 years now and at that time I spent months and months in hospital.

Everyone said I was too ill to work so I stayed at home and helped Dad in his workshop. I always wanted to be a carpenter, making furniture, it seems a nice solid occupation.

Over the last while my life has changed. My dad is 90 years old now and I help look after him. It’s tiring but it lets me repay everything he did for me. I do his shopping every week, pay his bills, cook his meals and make sure his carers arrive.

I used to go to the football with my Dad every week but he isn’t able now so I don’t go to matches. I still go to my club once a week. It’s for people with mental illness.

Recently, my CPN explained that I was being transferred to another team because of my age. I have a new CPN now and I have a new psychiatrist.  I have to get my injection on a different day so I miss the people I used to meet at the clinic. Sometimes we would stay and have a cup of tea and a talk.

I feel quite lost, all my support is falling away.

'Where do I go now?'

I was widowed 2 years ago, Bill and I were always busy.  My son lives in Australia and phones me most weeks and my daughter in law sends photographs of the children. It’s always nice to hear from them. They keep telling me if I bought a lap top and went on line we could Skype which means I would see the children but I wouldn’t know where to start.

When I think about my life, I used to be so busy but these were the best times, I worked full time as a nursery teacher and looked after Bill’s parents when they became old.

When we retired, I always had time to help Bill in his post as secretary at the local bowling club, organising transport and matches then planning the prize giving at the end of the season.

After he died I lost any sense of being me, it was always the two of us, I began to avoid people and found reasons to stay at home.

I know I’m not coping but don’t know how to change things.