People with intellectual disabilities often have an earlier or different aging than others. This means that we have to pay attention to early signs of additional cognitive impairments, such as dementia.
Within the institutional care in the past dementia related problems were dealt within the framework of traditional care. Today, there is a new group in society for whom treatment models need to be developed. In Scandinavia life expectancy for people with intellectual disabilities has increased substantially in recent decades.
Development of medical knowledge and improved living conditions are some of the reasons for the increased life span. Basically, older people with intellectual disabilities have much the same issues as others, but they face particular challenges. They may have a combined problem of physical and cognitive deficiencies. In varying degrees, this affects their ability to cope with everyday life and the potential to affect the environment around them.
The survey instrument Early Signs (Tidlige Tegn) was developed by the National Norwegian Competence Centre for Ageing and Health. Responsible for the adaptation to Swedish conditions are neuropsychologist Barry Karlsson and MD Monica Bjorkman.