Recommendations for research

PHIAC recommends that the following research questions should be addressed in order to improve the evidence relating to older people and mental wellbeing. It notes that effectiveness in this context relates not only to the size of the effect, but also to cost effectiveness, duration of effect and harmful or negative effect.

1 Identification of older people

How can older people who might benefit most from interventions to promote mental wellbeing be identified?

2 Effectiveness of interventions

How is the effectiveness of interventions to promote the mental wellbeing of older people affected by place of residence, advanced age, mobility or physical health, income, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, social networks and language or learning disabilities?

3 Measures

What measures of the mental wellbeing of older people and changes over time could be used consistently across studies? What is the association between standardised measures of emotional and social wellbeing and quality of life and self-reported outcomes, and how could such measures be used in economic appraisals?

4 Improving the mental wellbeing of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged older people

What are the most effective and cost-effective ways of improving the mental wellbeing of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged older people? This includes those with physical or learning disabilities, those on very low incomes or living in social or rural isolation (including older people from minority ethnic groups).

5 Effectiveness of interventions

How does the effectiveness of interventions depend on the characteristics of those delivering the intervention, the involvement of older people in their design and delivery or the involvement of family members and/or carers?

More detail on the evidence gaps identified during the development of this guidance is provided in appendix D.