Adults with Down's Syndrome are at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in later life. This paper gives an overview of the current research in the area and discusses the implications it raises for individuals, carers and service providers. Information on the link between Down's Syndrome and Alzheimer's disease and prevalence rates are given. The clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and a stage model documenting the progression of the disease are presented. Attention is drawn to the problems inherent in assessing and diagnosing Alzheimer's disease in a person with a pre‐existing learning disability. The importance of a thorough assessment procedure and guidelines for assessment methods are highlighted. The paper also discusses the management of Alzheimer's disease and focuses on care management practices and recommendations for service provision. Guidelines for supporting individuals include maintaining skills, adopting a person‐centred approach, implementing psychosocial interventions and multidisciplinary care management. Finally, high prevalence rates of Alzheimer's disease in adults with Down's Syndrome and increasing life spans are highlighted as a particular concern, and recommendations for the future include increasing education and awareness, implementing screening services, improving assessment methods and developing appropriate services.
Tizard Learning Disability Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2003
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