In its document ‘Undiagnosed, untreated, at risk’, Age Concern has published a plan to help combat the problem.
It accused some GPs of having ‘ageist’ attitudes that prevent older people with depression from receiving the help they need.
They also need better training to enable them to recognise symptoms and the GP contract needs to be altered to incentivise the identification and treatment of depression in all patients, according to the report.
Mental health services should be commissioned to combat the problem and ‘insulting, ageist’ rules preventing older people from getting treatment should be removed, Age Concern added.
Older people have limited access psychological therapies compared with younger people – even though NICE has recommended older people should have access to them.