Background and aims
Mental health and wellbeing are important components of overall health. They impact how we feel, think, behave, respond to stress, and relate to others. In older adulthood, people may be more likely to experience major life events that impact their mental health, for example, physical illness, loss of a partner, or a change in their living arrangements.  In Australia, between 10 and 15 per cent of older adults have depression and approximately 10 per cent have anxiety.  Mental health conditions are more common among people living in residential aged care than older people living in the community.  Researchers are working to understand more about mental health and wellbeing in older adulthood. To understand the scope of this research, we undertook a scoping review of systematic reviews on mental health and wellbeing within the aged care context. This review has determined our evidence themes—short summaries of the available research—on this topic for the aged care workforce.
A search strategy was created in Ovid Medline and then translated for Ovid PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Scopus. This included a wide range of terms covering wellbeing domains and states of mental health. The search was limited to English language systematic reviews published since 2012. A librarian assisted by conducting a search for grey literature on the topic, as well as iterative searches of Google Scholar. All citations retrieved were uploaded into Covidence for dual screening. Titles and abstracts were screened first, followed by full-text articles for those items thought to be relevant, or where the two reviewers were not in agreement on eligibility.
Reviews were considered relevant if they described the mental health and/or wellbeing of older populations living in the community and receiving home care, or those living in residential aged care.
We also convened an evidence advisory group, consisting of experts in the field of mental health and wellbeing in aged care. This group discussed contextual issues and the appropriateness of the Hub’s approach to collating information and resources. Members of this group also provided feedback on written evidence themes.
Our findings so far
The searches retrieved 1439 reviews for screening. From these, 133 were relevant to the context of aged care. The themes we identified from the final papers include:
- Ceasing to drive
- Medication use
- Mental health and dementia
- Psychological approaches
- Physical activity
- Reminiscence approaches
- Screening tools
- Suicidal thoughts and self-harm