Caring for someone with Down’s syndrome

Down’s syndrome is a condition caused by an extra number of chromosomes in the body, which then results in learning disabilities. Thanks to advances in science, those with Down’s syndrome are now able to live far longer, much richer lives and can even move into supported living. However, there are still a number of challenges that rest alongside raising and supporting a loved one with Down’s syndrome, so we have spoken to the experts and sourced the best advice on how to care for someone with Down’s syndrome.

1.       Financial support

You may well be eligible for a range of financial support. This includes:

–          A carer allowance: if you are spending more than 35 hours a week caring for someone and earning less than £110.00 a week you may well be eligible for governmental support

–          Disabled facilities grant: if you have to make any changes to your home, you may be eligible for this handy grant

–          Family fund: a phenomenal charity that offers grants to low income families with severely disabled children

2.       Sexuality

A Down’s syndrome child will develop sexually in the same way as other teenagers, and whilst it is difficult for them to conceive it is by no means impossible. Whilst it may seem difficult to have this talk, you should speak to a teenager and adult with Down’s syndrome about sexual feelings and, if necessary, contraception.

3.       Health

Those with Down’s syndrome suffer from a range of conditions particular to their condition. These can include:

–          Neck instability

–          Stomach or bowel problems (they are particularly prone to celiac disease)

–          Thyroid issues – around half of adults with Down’s syndrome will suffer from an abnormally working thyroid so it is immensely important they have a yearly blood test

–          Vision test – those with down’s syndrome may well suffer from eye issues, so it is important they have regular check ups

4.       A sense of purpose

Most of those with Down’s syndrome can still leave rich and meaningful lives – try to give them chores to do around the houses, as well as simple tasks that give them a sense of purpose. Not only that, but many local areas will have social opportunities tailor made for those with Down’s syndrome and we really would encourage you to ensure your child gets out of the house and meets others.

5.       Self-care

Looking after a child with Down’s syndrome is amazing, incredible, but also incredibly challenging. Make sure you take some time to yourself – whether that’s finding a hobby or simply going for a long walk. There are also a number of charities dedicated to helping support carers who may feel overwhelmed – take a look in your local library or search online for Carers Support services.

If you would like some further support or to speak to one of our expert members of staff about organising a free consultation, please feel free to give us a call on 0208 648 9677 or drop us a line on enquiries@helpforcarers.org.uk