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Facts About Dementia

Dementia and Intellectual Disabilities -

Some Facts: 

  • Most adults with intellectual disabilities are generally affected by forms of dementia at the same rate as other adults (about 6% after the age of 60 – with the percentage increasing with age).


  • Some adults with intellectual disabilities are at high risk for dementia – adults with Down syndrome are particularly susceptible – and may show early onset. 

  • Early identification of signs and symptoms of cognitive impairment and dementia is an important first step in managing the course of the disease and providing quality care. 

  • A large number of older-aged adults with intellectual disabilities live with their families and their age-associated impairments, including dementia, increase the caregiving challenges for older caregivers.


  • An emerging model of ῾dementia-capable’ out-of-home care is the use of small community-based group homes.


  • Supportive education, training, and services can help caregivers minimize fatigue and prevent burnout.


  • Collaborative efforts at the local level, among disability, aging, and health providers can be effective in adapting services and supports to aid adults affected by dementia, and their caregivers.


  • With appropriate services, adults with intellectual disabilities affected by dementia can continue to live quality lives in community settings.


  • Warning signs may include unexpected memory problems, getting lost or misdirected,  problems with gait or walking, new seizures, confusion in familiar situations, or changes in personality.


  • Adults with symptoms of dementia can benefit from caregivers' awareness of symptoms, requests for assessments, having health and medications monitored, and having their residence made ῾dementia-capable’.

  • ​Adults living with dementia can be helped by clinicians experienced with aging and intellectual disability, obtaining an accurate diagnosis, having their changes in function and behavior noted in their medical record, and caregivers planning for accommodating decline.

 Check out our FAQ:

'Some Basic Questions about Adults with Intellectual/ Developmental Disabilities Affected by Alzheimer's Disease or Other Dementias'

More information can be found under our Publications and Resources tabs
At the 2023 AAIC Conference, the new NIA-AA scheme for defining the presence of Alzheimer's disease was presented.  To read an informative explanation of the new scheme, click on this article from AlzForum.
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