Living well in later life

Mental health matters

Feeling blue. Having trouble sleeping. Losing weight. Becoming more irritable. Losing interest in the things we’ve always enjoyed.

It’s easy to think that any emotional problems we encounter later in life are an inevitable consequence of getting older. But they’re not.

Older people are no more susceptible to feelings of unhappiness, isolation and anxiety than others. And just like younger groups, if you or someone you know is experiencing what maybe symptoms of depression, getting support can make a world of difference.


Feelings of depression are often triggered by major life events; the loss of a daily routine, loss of independence or the loss of a close friend or loved one.


The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that 85% of older people with depression receive no help at all from the NHS.

Setting the record straight

There are many misconceptions around mental health in later life. Here we set the record straight.

“Depression is a normal part of ageing”
Not true. Feelings of depression are not inevitable as we get older. Good mental health is as important in later life as it is at any other time of our lives.
“Asking for help is a sign of weakness”
Not true. 22% of men and 28% of women over the age of 65 experience depression.* There’s no stigma in asking for help. It’s about taking charge of your wellbeing.
“I should just snap out of it”
Not true. Trying to deal with depression alone is difficult and can make things worse.
“I’m just feeling down. Physical problems are more deserving of help”
Not true. Doctors are trained to treat both physical and mental health.

Exploring the symptoms

Even mild forms of depression can have an adverse impact on our lives, affecting our physical and emotional wellbeing. Examples of symptoms can include…

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeplessness
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of energy
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in things you usually enjoy
  • Drinking more alcohol than usual

1 in 4 of us will experience some form of depression during our lives.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these problems, it may help to get some help.

There's lots you can do...

These simple tips can help you look after your mental health and wellbeing...

Maintain a healthy diet
What we eat and drink affects how we feel, our energy levels and our mental health.
Keep learning
Be active in the mind as well as the body – tackle crosswords, read widely, learn new skills and take up new hobbies.
Take regular exercise
We don’t have to join a gym to stay fit and healthy. Small increases in physical activity can have a big impact.
Stay connected
Maintain a healthy social circle, meet new people and make new friends. Friends and family help keep us balanced.

What we can do…

A quick response and a personal touch
Call us on +44 (0) 1788 556 366 and we’ll create a personalised plan to start your counselling within days.
Someone to talk to 24 hours a day
Call our 24 hour helpline to speak to our trained counsellors any time.
Call 0800 107 6163 (UK only).
Positive ageing
Join our course designed to help you take care of your emotional wellbeing and get the most out of your later years. Book your free place.
A friend indeed
If you’re 55 or over and feeling lonely or isolated our telephone friendship service can introduce you to someone to chat to. Call us on +44 (0) 1788 556 366.

Find out more about mental health


Support and advice in retirement


“I know that if I need to talk to someone CABA is always there.” June

* Age UK report – Later life in the UK October 2015