The NZDSA is extremely pleased we can offer our members an invaluable new resource to learn about the needs of the older person with Down syndrome, as well as a follow-up workshop to answer your questions.
The digital resource The Golden Years, Ageing and Down syndrome is presented by expert Geraldine Whatnell and discusses how ageing may affect their health and wellbeing, as well as supports they may need if they are diagnosed with dementia.
The valuable video offers background on a range of subjects and demonstrate best practice when supporting people with Down syndrome. The subjects include:
- Ageing and Down syndrome
- Importance of health checks
- Explores the connection between Down syndrome and dementia
- Looks at the myths about Down syndrome and dementia
- Assessment and diagnosis of dementia
- Understanding dementia and the stages of dementia
- Strategies we can use
- How we can help people with Down syndrome who live with dementia.
Presenter Geraldine (Dina) Whatnell is the Nurse Practitioner Mental Health and Addictions Service Palmerston North Hospital.
Geraldine brings with her nearly 40 years of professional skills and knowledge in the specialist area of developmental disabilities (intellectual disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder) and mental illness.
Alongside this, Geraldine has a wealth of personal lived experience as her younger brother Mark having a diagnosis of Down syndrome .
Getting older is associated with many changes, both biological and social. For someone with Down syndrome these changes can be particularly daunting and difficult.
There is evidence to suggest that some biological problems related to ageing can occur earlier in people with Down syndrome than in the general population.
The marked improvement in life expectancy for people with Down syndrome (an average of 60 -70 years, compared to an average of 9 years around 1900) also means that the problems relating to the condition and old age are only now being researched and addressed.
Unfortunately, there are very limited few resources available for families and whānau who support and care for aging people with Down syndrome.
The NZDSA recognises this gap and decided to develop this resource to start filling this void.
In New Zealand there is no strategy or plan to address dementia for the general population therefore there is even less knowledge, information and support for people with Down syndrome.
If you are interested you can read and support this open letter to the Government to be more pro-active in this area.