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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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Introduction and guidance


We are all aware of improvements in the United Kingdom (UK) population’s life expectancy. Less well recognised is that the life expectancy of people with learning disabilities has also improved and over half are now aged over forty-five. The majority of those with learning disabilities live with their parents or a sibling. As people with learning disabilities are living longer, family carers are continuing to care well into their own old age.

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Do you care for an adult or a sibling with learning disabilities who is middle-aged or older? Is the advice and support you need hard to come by? Do you have concerns and questions about the future care of your family member? Whether you are a parent or a sibling caring for a relative with a learning disability, this free 4-hour course is designed to help you navigate the system as they grow older. It has been developed from a cutting-edge research project [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] that explored how to improve the care and support for older people with learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge others, and their families. Hence some of the material will specifically consider the needs of older people with learning disabilities and whose behaviours may at times challenge others.

During the course you will watch extracts of interviews by our researchers with members of our panel of experts. These panel members’ photos and a brief outline of their experiences and expertise are set out below.

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Dawn Wiltshire and Pam Bebbington are both members of My Life My Choice, a self-advocacy organisation for people with learning disabilities. They are supported on the panel by Lisa Davidson.

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Gail Hanrahan is a carer and one of the lead family advocates from Oxfordshire Family Support Network.

Interested in taking your learning further? You might find it helpful to explore the Open University’s Health and Social Care courses and qualifications.