Cally: Mum and carer of a son with Learning Disabilities

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By Cally

Cally, a mum and carer of a son with Learning Disabilities, has given permission to include her blog on the IncludeAge website.

I am the mum of a 53-year-old man with learning disabilities and, as a family, we are growing older together. I am passionate about ensuring that he is enabled to participate in our local community and support him to live a full and rich life. He participates in a range of activities and this is important to him. He works, takes part in local sports activities, and does voluntary work. He relishes the independence this brings him and is essential for his wellbeing.

So many older people feel invisible and lonely as they grow older – ageist assumptions and discrimination mean that they can feel excluded from communities and treated as second class citizens by public services. Older people with learning disabilities are a minority group and their experiences of growing older are often neglected. Many people grow older with their ageing parents. International research has shown that as many as 25% of people growing older in the family home are not known to services. This research has an opportunity to shine a light on this important groups experience of growing older, and the sort of support they need to grow older successfully.

This project can raise awareness of the range of different experiences that people with learning disabilities – wherever they are being supported – to enable them to take full advantage of what their local communities have to offer.

I am hoping that the project will raise aspirations about how older people with learning disabilities can not only be present and participate in their communities but be offered the opportunity to contribute. Many of the older people with learning disabilities that I have known over the years have told me how important it is to them to be able to give as well as receive support either through voluntary or paid work.

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