Older people who have experienced the death of a partner are up to four times more likely to experience depression than older people who haven’t been bereaved, and are more likely to have worse mental health as a result of bereavement than working age adults.
Despite this, they are less likely to be referred for bereavement support than bereaved people who are younger. That’s according to a new report by Independent Age, the older people’s charity, which examines the impact of the death of a partner on older people, and the importance of talking about the bereavement and receiving support.
Every year in England, 192,000 older people are newly bereaved. Of this number, over 106,000 will experience the onset of depression, projected to increase to over 161,000 by 2039. There is evidence that older people benefit more than working age adults from psychological therapies, but they are less likely to be referred for bereavement support. In fact, fewer than 1 in 5 people aged 65 and over have received bereavement counselling.