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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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3 Planning ahead

The vignette from Activity 1 indicated that the hope is for Geoff to live with Gill and Ian ‘forever’. The Shared Lives coordinator said to the researcher:

So again, long-term planning, we equally do. And I think for me, for the individuals that we support, like Geoff and Jackie, I’ve tried to make a conscious effort as we go round and do their plans, especially when family are involved, to look at that area of the plan where we address, is there a will in place and have they got any funeral arrangements?

In the next activity, you will reflect further on what else might need to be included in a conversation about Geoff’s future, and who needs to be involved.

Activity 3 Reviewing plans for Geoff

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Imagine that you are working alongside Geoff, the Shared Lives Coordinator, Gill and Ian to plan for Geoff’s future. In the text box below, create a list of all the aspects of his life that need to be considered. This may include things that have not been raised through the case study so far. After you have made your list, you will watch our panel members discussing their views.

Download this video clip.Video player: gopa_2_session3_video2.mp4
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You will have come up with your own list of considerations for Geoff’s future. But based on the vignette and the panel comments, some key questions you might want to discuss if you were supporting Geoff include:

  • Is everyone clear what Geoff wants, and if not, how can his views be ascertained and embedded in plans and decisions about the future?
  • Is Geoff having regular health checks that other men his age have, e.g. bowel cancer screening?
  • Is Geoff having his learning disability annual health check?
  • Have you identified what is working well for Geoff and how this can be sustained? What is working less well, and how can that be addressed?
  • Has specialist support been accessed for Geoff, for example, Occupational Therapy input? If so, what are the recommendations?
  • What are Gill and Ian’s views about continuing to support Geoff in their home as he gets older? Are they prepared to make the necessary adaptations in their house if needed?
  • There is little mention of relationships beyond the house. There is some talk of the extended family but little evidence of people coming and going from the house, seeing other people, or having opportunities to meet new people. This might suit Geoff’s personality, but maybe he would benefit from spending time with other people and developing new relationships. How could this be explored?
  • We hear a lot about the outside space and the room with the table that people sit around. The lounge has portraits of Gill and Ian and their children when they were younger, but there are no photos in the house of the people living there through Shared Lives. Does this matter? How much choice and control do people have over decisions about furniture and décor? What is their personal space like?
  • Is there a clear process in place to review Geoff’s future plans?

Anyone supporting Geoff, or someone in a situation similar to Geoff’s, needs to be mindful that he, like everyone else, is getting older. While Geoff is fit and active now, he will, inevitably, experience changes to his health that are impacted by his age. It is important that all those involved in supporting Geoff are working together – with Geoff – to plan ahead.