Ageing well for people with learning disabilities
BILD has recently received funding for a project called Ageing Well which aims to provide up to date information to support older people with a learning disability to live a fulfilling life.
Through this project we hope that people with a learning disability will be better informed about the ageing process, how it might affect them and what they can do to lead an active and fulfilling life.
We plan to provide information for:
- people with a learning disability
- family carers and support workers
- learning disability support providers,
- local authority social workers and commissioners
Can you help?
We'd love to hear from you about your examples of good support and your ideas about how best you think we could meet the project's aims. We'd particularly like to hear from you if you are:
- A member of an advocacy group supporting older people with a learning disability
- Supporting older people with a learning disability and their family carers in a person centred and community based way
- Working with older people with a learning disability to help them stay physically and mentally healthy
- Using assistive technology to support people to stay independent
- Planning for the support needs of a growing population of older people with a learning disability and their family carers in your community
Let us know what you and the people you support would find useful. Would it be:
Your ideas will help us to get the information we produce right for people with learning disabilities, for family carers and support workers as well as for those who plan and manage services.
If you want to share your stories of good practice with BILD we are keen to hear from you. Also if you want to register your interest in the Ageing Well project please contact us using the contact details below.
If you register with us we will send you bimonthly updates about the project and we will use your examples and ideas to inform how the project develops over the next 12 months.
The project's background
Patricia Collen, pictured above, aged 94, lived at Normansfield long stay hospital from 1926 to 1997. Her story was first told in the book, 'Tales of Normansfield: The Langdon Down Legacy' by Andy Merriman and an article by Heather Cadbury and Michelle Whitmore, 'Spending time in Normansfield: change in the day to day life of Patricia Collen', appeared in The British Journal of Learning Disabilities in 2010.
These two accounts showed the huge changes that took place in the lives of many people with learning disability over this time.
Patricia's own story was particularly interesting as it involved her entering a private hospital in the 1920s, losing contact with her family and experiencing significant privations during the Second World War. Patricia saw the 'nationalisation' of Normansfield into the NHS in 1951, and experienced the restrictions placed on all its residents by the management regime of the 1960s - exposed in the Sherrard Inquiry in the 1970s - which meant residents like Patricia lost a lot of their individual identity and spent long periods with no occupation or stimulation.
The closure of Normansfield was announced in 1992, around the same time as the official solicitor traced Patricia's cousin, and the Court of Protection agreed that her money, which had accumulated over the years, could be spent on providing a home and live-in carers. Over time, her new surroundings helped Patricia to blossom and become part of her community.
Sadly, Patricia Collen passed away last year but her cousin has worked with BILD to develop a programme of work, funded by Patricia's estate, that will develop a set of resources on ageing well to help support older people with a learning disability to lead a fulfilling life.
These resources will be aimed at people with learning disabilities, support workers and managers and commissioners of services. It is hoped that this work will provide a fitting testimony to the life of Patricia Collen.
Your can read more about Patricia Collen in an article written in the British Journal of Learning Disabilities in 2010.
Published in the ‘British Journal of Learning Disabilities’, Vol 38 pp 120-126. Reproduced with the permission of the Publisher. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Find out more about this project by returning to this page from time to time, we'll update the information about our activities and progress here.
If you would like to share your stories of good practice and if you want to register your interest in the Ageing Well project please contact us using the details below. If you could send experiences and suggestions by email that would be most helpful.
The Ageing Well project contacts are Lesley Barcham and Tracey Tindell, you can contact them on 01562 723025 or by email at email@example.com