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A new booklet has been launched to help carers and aged care workers assist in the wellbeing of older adults. The booklet, What works to promote emotional wellbeing in older people, rates activities on a scale of zero to three for how effective these are at improving mental health among this group. Activities identified include playing computer games, spending time with animals, singing in a choir and exercise. Most of the activities are accompanied by case studies that provide examples of how they have been implemented and the impact the activities have had.

The booklet is based on research from La Trobe University and has been developed for the community by beyondblue, to help raise awareness of mental health and related issues.

Beyondblue CEO, Georgie Harman said with around one in 10 older adults experiencing depression and anxiety the booklet makes it easier for those caring for older people to make informed, evidence-based decisions on how to improve their mental health. “There are activities to suit older people of all cognitive and physical capabilities, including those with memory problems or dementia.” These range from physical activities such as gardening to relaxation therapies like meditation.

Harman added that the rating system is based on studies from the past 15 years that have shown that the activity is effective, “so anyone using the booklet can have confidence in the ratings.”

The organisation recently launched Connections Matter, a booklet that offers advice to older people about the importance of connecting with their community to help ward off loneliness and reduce their risk of developing depression and anxiety.

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