The major improvements to people’s lives secured under the Valuing
People white paper must be extended to older people with learning
difficulties, Rob Greig urged last week.
The strategy’s director of implementation said the government
blueprint for adult social care could provide a framework for
linking services for learning difficulties, older people and mental
He told a conference in London on older people with learning
difficulties and dementia that it was vital to extend to older
clients the citizenship agenda that underpins Valuing People.
“This is a growing issue. People with learning difficulties are
living longer,” Greig said.
“We know some services are not coping well, in particular in
dealing with those who have dementia. We need to start thinking
‘how are we going to handle all this?’.”
Greig said that, although more research was needed, enough was
already known about older people with learning difficulties,
including those with dementia, “to get a move on and start doing
Jean Collins, director of the organisation Values Into Action, told
the conference that there was a “dismissive” attitude among some
professionals towards older people with learning
“It’s as if, when you have two labels, that is two reasons to just
write you off.”
She added that too many older people with learning difficulties
ended up in residential or nursing homes that did not cater for
“We are moving people out of long-stay hospitals, but the easy
option is to bung them all together somewhere and run a little
institution,” she said.