Understanding mental capacity
Understanding mental capacity

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Week 7: Older people


Most older people have a lifetime of experience in making decisions for themselves and others, as parents, carers, employees and citizens. To be assessed in later life as no longer having the mental capacity to function in this way is likely to be disorientating and distressing. This week you consider the mental capacity of older people. 

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • explain some of the attitudes towards and expectations of older people in UK society
  • explain how assessing mental capacity often involves balancing risk and safety against choice and wellbeing
  • define what it means to be a ‘person’
  • describe three common issues for older people that are linked to mental capacity: driving vehicles, daily living routines and living alone
  • outline three mechanisms where decision making is delegated or wholly assumed by others: power of attorney, advanced decisions and the Court of Protection.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371