People with learning disabilities

People with learning disabilities

Key messages

The proportion of the population who have a learning disability falls with age, in part because some common conditions associated with learning disability also lead to a reduced life expectancy, compared to the general population. People with learning disabilities are 58 times more likely to die before the age of 50 than the general population.

However, the health of people with a learning disability has been improving over the years, in conjunction with improvements in health and social care, so that many people with a learning disability are living longer. This does, however, pose some health concerns for people with learning disabilities in older age. In particular, there is a higher risk of complex health problems and dementia in people with Down’s Syndrome, or profound and multiple learning disabilities.

National prevalence data suggest there will be 1500-1600 people with a moderate or severe learning disability in Northumberland.

Key issues for people with learning disabilities in the next five years

  • an increase in the number of older people with learning disabilities who have additional needs
  • increased life expectancy of people with Down’s Syndrome
  • an increasing number of younger adults who have additional needs
  • increasing rates of physical disability associated with cerebral palsy
  • the need to personalise care of people with complex and challenging behaviour
  • applying best practice in the care of people with mental health problems to people with learning disability with mental health needs
  • a larger number of young people in transition from children’s to adult services
Further information on promoting equality in Northumberland, and information on how we are meeting our duties under the Equalities Act 2010, can be found on the equality and diversity website.

Statistics on this topic on the people and disabilities page.

Key documents