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Supporting older people with learning disabilities and their families
Supporting older people with learning disabilities and their families

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Session 2: Living at home, planning ahead


Many adults with learning disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 live with their families, for example over 30% in England and Scotland and over 50% in Wales (NHS Digital, 2022; StatWales, 2023; SCLD, 2019). The numbers of people living with their family carers as they reach older age is increasing, and this has implications for both the person, and their carers that need to be considered. For many families, staying together for as long as possible is a positive choice, and with the right support, this arrangement can work well. But we also know from our research that many family carers begin to struggle physically and mentally as they get older and worry about the future; others are anxious about what will happen when there is a change in their circumstances, such as the family carer becoming ill, or dying (Tilley et al., 2023). People with learning disabilities may want their independence, and will need advice and support to find appropriate accommodation with a suitable care package in place (Ryan et al., 2023).

To avoid the risk of people moving out of the family home in a crisis and to an inappropriate setting, families need support to plan ahead.

In this first case study, you will meet Becky, aged 45, who lives at home with her parents, who are aged 71 and 75. Becky is currently supported by a day service and the arrangement is working well. But her parents are anxious about what will happen to Becky if something happens to them. Discussions to plan for this change are currently underway.

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • recognise aspects of good support for people who live at home with their family
  • understand the importance of planning ahead when someone lives in the family home.