PRESS RELEASE Issued: (10th January 2013)

Improving the quality of life for older people with learning disabilities

The Association for Real Change has today launched the first in a series of challenges for the organisation, their members and providers of services in the learning disability sector. The Real Change Challenge: Older People concentrates on improving the quality of life for older people with a learning disability or autism.

The Real Change Challenge launch event takes place today at the Department of Health in London and is attended by the key stakeholders connected to learning disability services and older people and chaired by Dame Philippa Russell. The aim is to investigate how to improve the quality of life for older people with learning disabilities.

The Real Change Challenges’ main focus is to improve the quality of life for people with a learning disability or autism working towards ensuring equal opportunities in life. Integral to this focus is challenging the way ARC works and to demonstrate the Association for REAL CHANGE is really that – an association of change. Association for Real Change will be asking the sector to challenge itself to make a change or to showcase positive changes that have already been made. The Challenges will be launched throughout 2013 and will be based on tackling pertinent issues within the learning disability sector.

The Association for Real Change will be presenting the draft version of the Challenge for older people today for delegates to read and consider what they need to do to meet it. There will be round table discussions on best practice that is already taking place, issues to consider and questioning what still needs to be tackled to enable older people with learning disabilities or autism to live well through their old age. The British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) will also be highlighting their Ageing Well Project.

Older people with learning disabilities are a growing and diverse group. The number of people with learning disabilities over 60 will increase by over 60% between 2011 and 2030[1]. By 2030 the number of adults 70+ using social care services for people with learning disabilities will more than double[2]. The Association for Real Change is asking ‘what sort of lives will older people with learning disabilities have and how and where will their support needs be met?’

The draft challenge, older people, includes detailed outcome statements (or ‘I statements’), which are a precursor for learning disability providers to think about developing services to deliver these outcomes. Once the first challenge has been opened up for consultation to the key stakeholders attending the launch event, the final version will be published for organisations to use. The Association for Real Change  will then develop and deliver support and/or training to enable providers to meet the challenge.

Jacqui Bell, Chief Executive of the Association for Real Change, said:

“We are delighted to be launching the first of many challenges today. Developing strategies to provide the right care for our ageing population has never been so important or as pressing and what we need to remember is that people with learning disabilities grow old too and often face additional medical issues and have greater needs.

“We’re throwing down the gauntlet to the learning disability sector – older people with learning disabilities should have a smooth transition into later life, remain healthy, happy, active and engaged with as much choice and control in their lives as possible. We must all take up the challenge to deliver this!

“Now is the time to make sure that respect, dignity, choice and control is open to everyone that providers support throughout their lives. We hope that through the Real Change Challenges we’ll be able to develop the skills of the workforce, improve the quality and diversity of services available and make a real impact on the lives of people with a learning disability regardless of their age.”

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Notes to editors

Key Information:

  • Association for Real Change (ARC) is a UK-wide membership organisation, which supports providers of services to people with a learning disability.
  • We provide a range of services such as high quality information, networking opportunities, publications, and Disclosure checks.
  • The Association for Real Change’s Training Services (ATS) team are able to offer learning disability service providers assistance and support to review their staff training plans and implement quality supervision and best practice relating to issues such as positive behaviour support, handling medication and advocacy.
  • The Association for Real Change is committed to promoting best practice within the learning disability sector and we work with others such as the Department of Health, Skills for Care, and Big Lottery Fund through a range of projects.
  • The Association for Real Change works in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Association for Real Change (ARC)
ARC House, Marsden Street, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S40 1JY. Tel: 01246 555 043 Fax: 01246 555 045 Email: contact.us@arcuk.org.uk Web: www.arcuk.org.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ARCUKorg  Twitter: @arcuk_org



[1] Taken from Estimating Future Need for Social Care among Adults with Learning Disabilities in England: An Update by Eric Emerson and Chris Hatton published in 2011 by improving Health and Lives (IHaL)

[2] Taken from Estimating Future Need for Social Care among Adults with Learning Disabilities in England: An Update by Eric Emerson and Chris Hatton published in 2011 by improving Health and Lives (IHaL)