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Caring for an older family member with learning disabilities
Caring for an older family member with learning disabilities

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.

1 Taking stock of your own situation

You’ll start by thinking about your own situation.

Activity 1 Your thoughts

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Take a few minutes to think about some of the issues you and your family may be facing as your family member grows older. If you would like, write these down in your ‘Tips’ notepad which has been created for this course. Anything you write on this notepad is personal to you – no one else can see it. Download the notepad now and save it somewhere so you can access it and add to it throughout the course.

‘Tips’ notepad [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

In case you would rather record your notes that way, text boxes have been added to every activity. Again, your notes will only be visible to you.

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


The issues you listed might include struggling with physical or mental health; worrying about your ability to cope; the challenges of dealing with behavioural changes in the person you care for; feeling anxious about what will happen if there is a change in your own circumstances (e.g. if you become ill or when you die); being worried about starting discussions about future care with the person you care for because it might be too difficult to understand and/or might upset them; or struggling with planning for a move to living somewhere else.

This course will help you navigate the system and work out how to deal with some of the associated challenges of caring for a family member with learning disabilities as they grow older. Based on case studies from our research, the course will do this by exploring planning for the future and some of the skills and resources that are useful to do this. Links to useful sources of information and organisations are provided throughout.

You can work through the course at your own pace and choose which sections and activities you want to do. Although the estimated completion time is four hours, if you are pushed for time do not feel you have to do all the activities. Sessions 2 and 3 focus on planning. In Session 4 you will look at some of the skills that are useful such as being proactive and advocating for yourself and your family member. Session 5 deals with looking after yourself and provides sources of advice and information. In the final session you will pull your learning together and reflect on the changes you can make to enable you to best support the person you care for and yourself.

We have also produced a course for anyone working with older people with learning disabilities (registered health and social care professionals and non-credited workers), including people whose behaviour may challenge others: Supporting older people with learning disabilities and their families.

In the next session, you will start to think about making plans for the future using a case study from our research.

You can now go to Session 2.