Clifton, Andrew, Marples, G. and Clarke, A. (2013) Ageing with a Serious Mental Illness: A literature and policy review. Mental Health Review Journal, 18 (2). pp. 65-72. ISSN 1361-9322

Purpose - With population projections indicating that the number of older adults in the UK (those aged 65 years and over) will increase from 9.6 million in 2005 to 12.7 million in 2021, the numbers of those growing older with a serious mental illness (SMI) is likely to rise. Currently there is a lacuna of both policy and quality research evidence on how to meet the needs of this vulnerable group of citizens. The purpose of this paper is to add to the emerging debate and discourse around current policy and practice in the field.

Design/methodology/approach - We have undertaken a general review of both the literature and current UK policy guidance to determine the current state of provision for people with a SMI.

Findings - Much of the relevant literature we identified originates from the US, with older adults with SMI perceived as an under-served population in need of urgent attention. Additionally, UK policy provision is patchy with very limited pockets of good practice currently available to guide clinicians and inform service users.

Research limitations/implications - Clinicians, researchers and other stakeholders must engage with service users, their family and/or friends to produce quality and meaningful research to improve outcomes for this vulnerable group of citizens. Finally, the policy, practice and service user communities needs to collaborate in a spirit of "boundary spanning" working across disciplines to generate practical policies which can be operationalised by organisations and individuals.

Originality/value - This paper highlights the distinct lack of literature, evidence and policy which currently exists in the UK addressing the needs of older adults with a serious mental illness.

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