Collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland, Care Inspectorate, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Key.
The longer life expectancy now enjoyed by most people with a learning disability is to be celebrated, for example people with Down’s syndrome may now live to their 60s, a big step forward from the 1980s when life expectancy was still in the teens. However, people with a learning disability are also at increased risk of dementia at a younger age, especially people with Down’s syndrome. There are occasions when it is no longer preferred or practical for a person with a learning disability to remain in their home as dementia progresses. In such situations a move to a care home may take place, often at time of crisis or as dementia advances. Two longstanding problems have become evident: 1) people with a learning disability and advancing dementia are often moved to a care home without being supported to share information about themselves or wishes for their future accommodation needs or preferences and 2) staff in care homes for older people can be hesitant about people with a learning disability and dementia moving in. This is due to uncertainty about how to meet their needs and the perception that the support needed is too great, or too different from other residents. This proposal increases potential for appropriate engagement and activities before, during and after a move to a care home by older people with a learning disability and dementia.