Generally the health of people with a learning disability has been improving over the years, as better health and social care has become available. As a result, many people with a learning disability now have the same life expectancy as people without a learning disability.
However, as people with a learning disability get older, concerns about health are likely to increase. As well as the general problems associated with older age, people with Down's Syndrome or profound and multiple learning disabilities may face more complicated health problems.
One of the main health concerns at this stage is dementia. Dementia is a general term used to describe a group of diseases that affect the brain, of which Alzheimer's is the most common. The risk of developing dementia is higher for someone who has a learning disability, and people with Down's Syndrome are particularly at risk.
My son's health has been affected by his age - he is physically much slower, and his weight increase is becoming obvious.
When someone develops dementia it can be confusing and upsetting for everyone involved. Some of the early signs of the disease may include communication problems and memory loss, and difficulty carrying out certain tasks.
However, there are many steps that can be taken to support someone living with the disease, allowing them to continue to enjoy life and to pursue many of the same activities for some time.