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Resources: Older people with learning disabilities

The following is a directory of local and national resources for professionals working with older people with learning disabilities.


'Supporting Derek'

DescriptionSupporting Derek is a practice development guide to support staff working with people who have a learning difficulty and dementia. It has been produced for staff and volunteers who work with people with a learning disability and dementia or who are at risk of developing dementia in the future.
Published by:The Joseph Rowntree Foundation in partnership with the University of Edinburgh (2010)

The Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling (DSDC)


The DSDC is an international centre of knowledge and expertise dedicated to improving the lives of people with dementia.

They draw on research and practice, from across the world, to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date resource on all aspects of dementia.

For over 25 years they have worked with individuals and organisations

  • to improve the design of care environments
  • to make communities dementia-friendly
  • to influence policy and to improve services for people with dementia

They can offer Bespoke Training in your workplace as well as an online training directory.

DSDC is based in the Iris Murdoch Building at the University of Stirling, is guided by an International Advisory Board and is funded largely from charitable sources.

More info

DSDC provide an online resource where you can take a tour of a Virtual Hospital and Virtual Care Home.  There is also a wide range of DSDC Publications available.

AddressIris Murdoch Building, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA    
Telephone(01786) 467740


The Royal College of Psychiatrists


The Royal College of Psychiatrists has provided new and updated icon guidance [3Mb] on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and support of people with learning disabilities who develop dementia.

The main purpose of the guidance is to enable those working in clinical and social care services to improve the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities who develop dementia, by providing guidance to inform assessment, diagnosis, interventions and support. The guidance is aimed at clinicians in intellectual disabilities and older peoples' mental health services and services for younger people with dementia.

Published by:Co-published by The British Psychological Association and the The Royal College of Psychiatrists (2015)


         DescriptionPublished by
icon 'Older People with a Learning Disability' [85Kb]BILD (2012)
icon 'Learning Disabilities and Dementia' [262Kb]Alzheimer's Society (2013)
icon 'Older People with a Learning Disability' [58Kb]Mencap (2011)


DescriptionPublished by
Jenny's Diary is a free booklet and a set of postcards aimed at supporting conversations about dementia with people who have a learning (intellectual) disability.Developed by Karen Watchman, University of the West of Scotland, Irene Tuffrey-Wijne, St Georges, University of London & Kingston University, Sam Quinn, University of the West of Scotland (2015)

icon Talking Together [875Kb]: Facilitating peer support activities to help people with learning disabilities understand about growing older and living with dementia.

This handbook should be particularly useful for staff in day centres or residential care, health practitioners in community teams and personal assistants.

The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (2015)
icon Supporting Older People with Learning Disabilities [2Mb]: A Toolkit for Health and Social Care CommissionersBILD (Opens in a new window) (2014)
icon Evaluation Toolkit for Providers [1Mb]: An assessment tool and action plan for organisations to improve the quality of life for people with learning disabilities as they grow olderThe Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities and Association for Real Change Scotland (ARC) (Opens in a new window)  (2014)


Design in Dementia Care
DescriptionThe Open University has produced a free online podcast about Design for Dementia Care (Opens in a new window) which provides 8 case studies of new build and refurbished care homes which reveal how dementia-friendly interior and exterior design enable improved working practices for care staff, and lead to greater independence and a better quality of life for residents.
Published by: The Open University: Open Learn (2012)

Further Resources

'Playlist For Life'

Playlist for Life (Opens in a new window) encourages families and caregivers to create a playlist of personally meaningful music on an mp3 media player device such as an iPod for people with dementia.  Their website offers guidance that can help individuals to get started.

Further Reading

Watchman, K. (ed) (2014) Intellectual disability and dementia - research into practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. For more information on this and other reading, please visit Learning (Intellectual) Disability and Dementia Knowledge Exchange Forum.

icon 'My Thinker's Not Working' [1Mb] is the short title for the report issued by the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices, a planning and advocacy group organized to produce a national plan on dementia and intellectual disabilities. Published by the AADMD (2012)

icon 'Perspectives on ageing with a learning disability' [147Kb]. Published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2012)

Useful Links