Ageing and mental health problems in people with intellectual disability

Jennifer Jayne Torr, Robert Winston Davis

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    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Increasing numbers of people with intellectual disability are now living well into old age. This paper will review the recent literature pertaining to the mental health of older people with intellectual disability. RECENT FINDINGS: Overall, the prevalence of mental health problems is high in adults of all ages with intellectual disability. A major epidemiological study did not report sufficient detail to examine the effect of ageing on specific disorders or the differential effects of ageing and early mortality in people with Down s syndrome. At least a third of people with Down s syndrome can expect to develop Alzheimer s disease in middle age whilst for other people with intellectual disability, Alzheimer s disease is probably no more common than in the general population. Diagnosis and management of dementia is complicated by the high rates of comorbid physical and mental health problems. SUMMARY: Overall, mental health problems in older people with intellectual disability are similar to younger people with intellectual disability, however there are more cases of dementia and physical health problems. Further research is needed to improve our understanding of the effects of ageing on the mental health and care needs of older people with intellectual disability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)467 - 471
    Number of pages5
    JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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