chapter  9
Psychiatric health and older people w ith intellectual disabilities
ByMark Luty, Sally-Ann Cooper
Pages 14

People w ith intellectual disability are an ageing population. In the past, few people w ith intellectual disability lived beyond childhood, w hereas the majority can now expect to reach middle or old age. There are m any reasons to account for this increase in lifespan. In part it reflects the increase in lifespan that has been seen for the whole population over the past century. However, there are factors that have had a greater impact for people w ith intellectual disability. These include im proved access to medical treatm ents (e.g. surgery for congenital heart disease, antibiotics for chest infections), the move away from institutionalised living settings which potentiated the spread of infections such as tuberculosis, better lifestyles w ithin the com m unity, and m ore person-centred care enabling better nutrition, healthcare and social fulfilment. In the UK there are now more people w ith intellectual disability aged 40 years or over than there are children w ith learning disabilities. Older people w ith intellectual disability are increasing in num ber, and this trend will continue.