Adults who have Down syndrome need the same age-appropriate health care as any other individual in the community. It is important that check-ups for conditions that are more commonly found in people with Down syndrome are carried out regularly, especially checks on vision and hearing and checks for thyroid dysfunction and arthritis. Adults with Down syndrome may be vulnerable to abuse, so it is very important for them to be educated about the risks of drugs, alcohol and smoking from a young age.
Some adults with Down syndrome may have difficulty expressing their symptoms or following directions for treatment. Sometimes their symptoms are incorrectly attributed to their Down syndrome – it is important to look beyond the Down syndrome, and not assume that every loss of function is due to Alzheimers! Changes in behaviour such as self-talk, withdawal or aggression may also be attributed to stress, depression or an underlying medical condition.
You can download a personal health record for adults with Down syndrome by visiting www.dsansw.org.au.
Articles and Information
Health – Looking After Yourself booklet to download
Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease by Alzheimer’s Australia, Down Syndrome Australia and the Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria
Brown, Roy Life for Adults with Down syndrome – an overview
Crompton, Margaret and Robin Jackson Spiritual well-being of adults with Down syndrome
Cuskelly, Monica et al. Families of adults with Down syndrome
McGuire, Dennis and Brian Chicoine Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome
Pueschel, Siegfried M. Adults with Down Syndrome