Review decision date: March 2015

Review decision: 

No update required - published guidance still current

Next review date: TBC

This guidance was previously entitled 'Mental wellbeing and older people'.

This guidance is for all those involved in promoting older people's mental wellbeing. It focuses on practical support for everyday activities, based on occupational therapy principles and methods. This includes working  with older people and their carers to agree what kind of support they need.

NICE recommendations include the following:

  • Offer regular sessions that encourage older people to construct daily routines to help maintain or improve their mental wellbeing. The sessions should also increase their knowledge of a range of issues, from nutrition and how to stay active to personal care.
  • Offer tailored, community-based physical activity programmes. These should include moderate-intensity activities (such as swimming, walking, dancing), strength and resistance training, and toning and stretching exercises.
  • Advise older people and their carers how to exercise safely for 30 minutes a day on 5 or more days a week, using examples of everyday activities such as shopping, housework and gardening. (The 30 minutes can be broken down into 10-minute bursts.)
  • Promote regular participation in local walking schemes as a way of improving mental wellbeing. Help and support older people to participate fully in these schemes, taking into account their health, mobility and personal preferences.
  • Involve occupational therapists in the design of training offered to practitioners.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.