ADVICE: Mental wellbeing & independence

Health watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, has published recommendations on supporting older people’s mental wellbeing and independence. These are primarily aimed at local authorities (including those commissioning services), managers, and practitioners with public health as part of their remit, but make interesting reading for anyone with older relatives and friends.

Recommendations include initiatives such as singing groups, in particular, those involving a professionally led community choir plus arts and crafts and other creative activities. NICE also recommends tailored, community based physical activity programmes including walking schemes and also intergenerational activities involving; for example, older people helping with reading in schools or young people providing older people with support to use new technologies.

Training in helping older people use ICT such as mobile telephones, internet enabled TVs and computers would also be of benefit, according to NICE.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “Ageing affects everyone differently. There are many factors which contribute to someone’s ability to remain independent, avoid loneliness and maintain their mental wellbeing.

“This new guideline includes advice on putting this into practice, for example by looking at what is already in local areas and how it can be improved – are there any transport difficulties, do the older people know there are activities and services available? There is no one-size-fits-all approach to promote and protect the mental wellbeing and independence of older people.”

There’s more really interesting analysis of this new document on the website


The new guideline is available at: