Supporting People with Intellectual Disabilities to Have a Good Life as They Grow Older is a new self-study guide designed to both support the delivery of training via the companion training pack, but can also be purchased separately to provide a self-study route. With access to online video clips, the guide works through the same content in order to provide opportunities for support staff to learn at their own pace and to enhance their continuing professional development in this vital area.
Growing older is a process with numerous gradual or sudden changes over time. For staff supporting people with learning disabilities, it may be difficult to recognise these changes or know how best to meet their changing needs. People with learning disabilities often age biologically at a younger chronological age than the general population, and many will have very different life experiences of getting older, for example having missed out on work, having a family and developing long-term relationships. These factors can adversely affect self-esteem as well as sources of financial and social support to fall back on as they grow older.
These new resources address a significant gap in the knowledge and practice of supporting people with learning disabilities as they grow older. Both aim to help staff and others to improve their understanding of how growing older may affect individuals, and ways of providing good support to people with learning disabilities so that they can:
- Age well through staying healthy, keeping friendships and connections and adapting their lifestyle as necessary;
- Cope with challenges and difficulties they may face, particularly as they become frailer and lose some independence.
Through knowledge content, exercises, key learning points and video clips of older people with learning disabilities talking about their experiences of growing older, the materials will help support staff to explore how planning for and providing good support can make a positive difference to individuals’ lives in the key areas of:
- Emotional well-being
- staying healthy and accessing healthcare
- Being active and involved
- Home life
- understanding growing older
- Bereavement and dying
Throughout the learning process, the themes of person-centred planning, good communication, and building confidence and encouraging independence are central to the development of good support.