People with disabilities and community care
A major OPCS survey of the 1980s found that more than 6 million adults in Britain suffer from one or more disability, while more than 2.5 million suffer from severe disabilities. Women are m ore likely than men to be disabled, while disabilities become increas ingly prevalent with ageing (Brown and Payne, 1994). There are
3.7 million physically disabled women in Britain, as against 2.5 million men. Such disparities continue into old age (Lonsdale, 1990, p. 25). Estimates of the scale of learning disabilities suggest 16.5-20.5 per 1,000 with mild m oderate learning disabilities, and 20.5 per 1,000 for people with severe disabilities (Ford, 1996, p. 58). Critics argue, however, that official surveys systematically under estimate the predominance of disability by excluding those whose day-to-day activities are unham pered because of medication (Cooper and Vernon, 1996). The drawback with this particular position, however, is that the definition of disability may become so wide as to be rendered meaningless.