Policy briefing

Identifying the needs of older people with learning disabilities

People with learning disabilities are living longer but will have specific health needs

People with learning disabilities are living longer but will have specific health needs

Essential information

People with learning disabilities are now living significantly longer. As they grow older, they have many of the same age-related health and social care needs as other people, but they also face specific challenges associated with their learning disability, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

People with learning disabilities have a poorer health profile than the rest of the population. Many face barriers to accessing care, including not being known to services, difficulties in expressing their needs and undiagnosed sensory impairment. Professionals may have difficulty distinguishing the symptoms of a condition, such as dementia, from those associated with learning disabilities.

NICE adds that managing the needs of older people with learning disabilities can be complex and could create substantial

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