Older Carers and Adults with Learning Disabilities: Stress and Reciprocal Care


People with a learning disability have an increased longevity. The majority of adults with a learning disability live with their parents which means that many of these parents are themselves elderly people. For the first time more adults with learning disability are outliving their parents. This paper presents some of the findings of a qualitative case study using interviews and focus groups with 24 carers and 14 adults with learning disabilities. It explores older carers’ perceptions of stress and experiences of the longevity of care giving, together with the views of people with learning disabilities about their relationship with their parents. It shows that there is often mutual or co-caring between the older carer and their relative with a learning disability, and that the amount and quality of mutual caring is frequently overlooked by service providers and professionals alike. The findings highlight the complexity of ways that older carers make sense of, and develop strategies for, dealing with the effects of the longevity of care-giving, and their ambivalent relationship with social work and other professionals.

How to Cite

Gant V. (2010) “Older Carers and Adults with Learning Disabilities: Stress and Reciprocal Care”, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice. 7(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/mhldrp.2010.72159








Valerie Gant




Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

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