Norwegian study suggests users of senior centres would welcome inclusion of older people with learning disabilities

our voice

Inclusion sits at the heart of policy relating to the support of people with learning disabilities. This Norwegian study set out to look at some practical implications of this in relation to providing support to older people with learning disabilities, in particular the views and attitudes of people using ‘senior centres’ in Norway to the inclusion of older people with learning disabilities in these centres.

The authors ran four focus groups which included thirty seniors without learning disabilities to identify the major themes, using grounded theory.

They found the major themes identified from the analysis of the focus group transcriptions included benefits, perceptions of people with learning disabilities, barriers and solutions to inclusion and the need for support and information.

The authors conclude from the study that most of the participants agreed that older people with learning disabilities could benefit from using a senior centre, but that additional consideration needed to be given to their need for assistance, education for staff and ways to overcome negative community attitudes towards people with learning disability.

‘If We are Going to Include Them We have to do it Before We Die’: Norwegian Seniors’ Views of Including Seniors with Intellectual Disability in Senior Centres, Ingvaldsen, A. & Balandin, S.  In Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 24: 583–593

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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