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

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1 Introducing Sharon and Becky

In this case study, you will meet Sharon (aged 71) and her daughter Becky (aged 45) who has learning disabilities. Sharon, her husband Bob (aged 75) and Becky live in their family home. You will be returning to this case study later in the course.

Activity 1 Meet Becky

Timing: Allow 10 minutes

Read the vignette below to find out more about Becky and her life. Make some notes if you wish, either in you ‘Tips’ notepad (which you may have downloaded in Session 1) or in the text box below.

Becky’s story

Becky lives with her parents who are both in their 70s. She goes to a day centre four times a week, where she has one-on-one support. Becky loves to be outside and in nature. Her favourite activities include watching people, trains, buses and YouTube videos. She likes to carry a shopping bag with her into which she puts things that she likes, for example a basketball, empty burger boxes, drinks cans and crisp packets. Becky likes how they shine and crinkle.

Some of her staff have supported Becky for years and know her very well. Although Becky is good at communicating what she likes and wants, generally staff rely on her body language and facial expressions. Becky does not have any significant health needs at the moment, but she is overweight.

Several ‘hazards’ when supporting Becky have been identified. She does not like changes in her routine, environment and those who care for her. Her anxiety can manifest itself in spitting, kicking, grabbing or stealing until she has become accustomed to such changes. The incidence of behaviours that challenge others also seem to have worsened since Becky started the menopause. There is a risk of harm to herself or a member of staff. Members of the public may respond negatively to her. The service has put in place strategies staff can use to reduce these risks which include taking her away from the situation as quickly as possible when she gets upset. If Becky refuses to move she is given space and allowed to calm down.

Becky’s parents want to plan for her future.

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