10 January 2013

Improving the quality of life for older people with learning disabilities

Image: Real Change Challenge: Older People

We are pleased to announce that today marks the launch of the first in a series of challenges for the Association for Real Change, our 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 took place today at the Department of Health in London and was attended by the key stakeholders connected to learning disability services and older people and chaired by Dame Philippa Russell. The aim of the event was 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. We 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.

Image: Jacqueline BellJacqui 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!”

Today we presented the draft version of the Challenge for older people for delegates to read and consider what they need to do to meet it. We’ve been asking ‘what sort of lives will older people with learning disabilities have and how and where will their support needs be met?’

The draft version of the Challenge for 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. We will then develop and deliver support and/or training to enable providers to meet the challenge.

“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.”

We hope you’ll be interested in finding out more about the challenge and forthcoming challenges over the next 12 months.

Additional information: