Published on 26 April 2012 02:00 PM
Health Minister, Edwin Poots, today launched MindWise’s Reaching Out – Connecting Older People’s programme in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings.
Speaking at the launch the Minister said: “With a growing elderly population, research has identified that older people with mental health problems are an ever increasing group of people who are often isolated and marginalized from the local community. In Northern Ireland we have the fastest growing elderly population in the UK. Currently, over a quarter of a million men and women are of a pensionable age, which is nearly one in six of our population. By 2028 that will have increased to nearly one in five and by 2050 nearly one in four.”
Research shows that older people in rural areas, as much of Northern Ireland is, are prone to depression, due to the decline in their social networks. This project to provide and Older People's Community Bridge Builder Service aims to address this anomaly. The service will develop links with local colleges, employers, voluntary organisations, training services, leisure facilities, spiritual organisations, health professionals and cultural communities allowing clients to take part in a variety of activities promoting independence and integration into their community.
Praising the work of MindWise he continued: “It is no coincidence that it is Mindwise who has identified this need and with its hands on approach to the work, their staff have over some time, been receiving anecdotal and statistical information about what elderly people with a mental illness need. It recognises the importance of care in the community particularly with this older client group. Living in their own homes and being part of their community helps older people’s recovery and ultimately their quality of life."
The Minister concluded: "MindWise has in the past developed innovative projects for people who have severe mental health illness. This reflects the wealth of experience and dedication of the MindWise staff who provide a range of support services to help this group of people.”