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Mental health of migrant elders – the Islington study

  • G. Livingston (a1), G. Leavey (a2), G. Kitchen (a3), M. Manela (a1), S. Sembhi (a3) and C. Katona (a1)...

Abstract

Background

In the UK, 6% of those aged 65 years and over were born abroad, most of whom now live in inner-city areas. It has been suggested that ethnic elders are particularly vulnerable to mental illness.

Aims

To compare the prevalence of dementia and depression in older migrants with those born in the UK.

Method

A cross-sectional community study of 1085 people aged 65 years or older in an inner-London borough.

Results

Compared with those born in the UK, the prevalence of dementia was raised in African–Caribbeans (17.3%, relative risk=1.72, Cl=1.06–2.81) and lower for the Irish-born (3.6%, relative risk=0.36, Cl=0.17–0.87). All those of African–Caribbean country of birth were significantly younger (P=0.000) but no more likely to be taking antihypertensive drugs. They were no more likely to report having cardiovascular problems but had increased rates of diabetes (P < 0.0000). The overall prevalence of depression was 18.3% (95% Cl=16.1–20.7). The highest prevalence rate was found among those born in Greece and Turkey (27.2%, Cl=179–39.6). Migration per se does not appear to be a risk for depression and dementia in this population.

Conclusions

The excess of dementia may be of vascular aetiology. There is the potential for primary or secondary prevention.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

G. Livingston, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Wolfson Building, 48 Riding House Street, London WIN 8AA, UK. Tel: 020 7530 2309; Fax: 020 7530 2304; e-mail: g.livingston@ucl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

This study was part funded by the Ethnic Health Unit, Department of Health.

Footnotes

References

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Mental health of migrant elders – the Islington study

  • G. Livingston (a1), G. Leavey (a2), G. Kitchen (a3), M. Manela (a1), S. Sembhi (a3) and C. Katona (a1)...

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Mental health of migrant elders – the Islington study

  • G. Livingston (a1), G. Leavey (a2), G. Kitchen (a3), M. Manela (a1), S. Sembhi (a3) and C. Katona (a1)...
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