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A range of tools have been collated/developed to assist Social Care staff in their assessment of need of someone with a Learning Disability who is showing signs of ageing.

When undertaking the reviews, they will be looking for evidence that both you and the person that you support, has an awareness of the issues facing someone with an LD as they age. The Ageing well checklist is a prompt sheet to help steer the discussion and make sure that things are in place to help support the person to age well.

You can use the checklist in advance of any reviews, to make sure that, as the Service Provider, you can evidence that each relevant tool referred to on the checklist is in place where required and up to date.

Look at the checklist and use this as your guide to make sure that everything is in place that is required to support the person to age well. Consider each item on the list, one by one to see what’s relevant for each individual person that you are supporting. Only complete those that are necessary, so for example an End-of-Life Plan wouldn’t be expected to be in place unless someone is at that stage of their life.

Be ready to support the person at their review to show all the relevant documents connected to their ageing well journey.

Checklist content

Click on the drop-down content below to find out more about each of the items on the checklist.

You will need to ensure that you/your staff providing direct support, are able to speak with confidence about the purpose and function of each of these tools, illustrate the importance of them being in place and are able to show completed versions of each one, where it’s deemed relevant to meet individuals’ needs.

Health Tools

For further information regarding the health tools, contact Jenny Peckham, Provider Quality Innovation Manager, who has led on upskilling the Provider Market in the use of these. Jenny.peckham@essex.gov.uk

Remember that you know the people you support well, so are in a good place to ensure that their health needs are being met. Consider whether it would be beneficial to support the person to request a joint review with LD/other Specialist health colleagues, where you have concerns about someone’s health that’s affecting their well-being.

What is a Life Story book?

A life story book is a collection of stories and memories that characterise the significant relationships and events over a person’s lifetime.

There is no one way to produce a Life Story book as they are unique to the person.

For some people, the reality is that as their needs change, a move to alternative accommodation becomes more likely. You may well have been supporting someone for many years, so long that you know their life history and who they are without even thinking about it. But what about if they had to move to somewhere new because of, for example now having nursing needs, how would the new staff get to know who the person is, their likes and dislikes, the quirks that make them who they are?

One of the greatest things that you could do, is support someone to capture their life story, to be shared with others as necessary. This could be in the form of an i-pad recording, photos, symbols, easy read, a collage, music, the list is endless, whatever best suits the individual and that they can understand. Imagine a new person arriving in one of your services with a Life Story book in hand, how helpful would you find that in your quest to get to know and understand who they are? 

Many people with Learning disabilities who are ageing, will have ageing or elderly relatives who are likely to have valuable memories and stories to contribute to the Life story book. Help the person you are supporting to engage with their families to help capture some of this information to go into their Life Story. 

Take a look at some examples of Life stories and memory boxes in the photos and links below.

 Collage of a life story

Photographs of a life story

Image of a collage

My Life Story scrapbook example

Youtube example of a Life Story Template


Communication Passports

'A communication passport is a book that helps to convey important information about an individual. They can be used to bridge the gap in communication that people with communication difficulties often experience. Communication passports help to empower individuals and they help to inform the reader of a person's life and personality.'

                       Source: Essexice.co.uk


A person’s Communication Passport will be a key tool to help staff who do not know them, to understand how to communicate with them and will help give them things to talk about as they get to know the person.

Communication Passports | Inclusive Communication Essex (essexice.co.uk)

It does this by:

  • Describing the person’s most effective means of communication, so that others can be better communication partners
  • Drawing together information from past and present, from many people who know the person, and from different contexts
  • Presenting the person positively as an individual, not as a set of ‘problems’ or disabilities

The communication passport belongs to the person – not to staff or family, though they may help him or her to use it appropriately and update it. Passports are especially important at times of transition when new people come into the person’s life and information may not be passed on. They are also helpful when new or temporary staff or volunteers meet the person, helping them quickly to acquire key information.

Loneliness and social isolation often increase as people get older for a variety of reasons. Loneliness is one of the main causes of low mood and depression.

In addition, people with a Learning Disability often go into old age with few friends and connections outside of those paid to support them. Recent engagement by Summit Advocacy on behalf of ECC, with adults with a Learning disability who are ageing, sited ‘loneliness and having no friends’ as their main concern.

This Presence to Contribution tool will help when talking with people about what they do on a day-to-day basis and the opportunities these present for getting involved, meeting new people, making connections and contributing to their community. Whoever is providing support could help the person fill this in as part of their weekly activity planning.

What it does

It asks people to think about the places that are important to them, where they go now and how they can develop these interests further. This helps us to think about possibilities in the future and plan actions to make positive change, supporting someone to be a contributing member of their community.

How it helps

It provides a structure to think about what a person does on a day-to-day basis, so that we can see opportunities for them to make new connections, meet new people and contribute to the community. Contributing to a community is more than just attending, it’s about people knowing your name, engaging with you, finding out who you are and you giving something back to that community.

This tool is a way of having a conversation with someone to find ways to enable them to be part of their community. It enables you to record what the person is interested in (or take this from their one-page profile), what it means to be present for an activity and what they could do to contribute to it more fully. It asks people to think about the places that are important to them, where they go now and how they can develop these interests further. This helps us to think about possibilities in the future and plan actions to make positive change, supporting someone to be a contributing member of their community.

It provides a structure to think about what a person does on a day-to-day basis, so that we can see opportunities for them to make new connections, meet new people and contribute to the community

Use this link to see an example of how it could be filled in

Lifestyle Planning - Presence to contribution

‘Planning for the future helps people with Learning Disabilities live healthier and more fulfilled lives for longer’ Source: NICE – 2021

A Future Plan for ageing well should consider the following areas: - Housing, Health, Support Networks and friends, Money and Legal Issues, crises, TEC, making decisions, Deprivation of Liberty, giving support and Advance directives/End of life.

Future Plans should be produced in a format that suits the person so could be visual, recorded as a video or sound clip, created from signs and symbols, as a collage or written in easy read.

There is no one template being promoted by ECC for this, what’s more important is the content and it being person centred and understandable for the person.

It’s important to ensure that all adults with a Learning Disability who are ageing, are being supported to think and plan ahead, to have an enriched and happy older age.

Think about the styles of Life Story books mentioned earlier; which method would best suit the person that you are supporting to produce their Future Plan for Ageing Well?

Click on these icons to find out more about how you can support the person to create their own Future Plan for Ageing Well.

Further Support 

The person can also be supported to request support from Essex Learning Disability Partnership ELDP with things such as advice on reasonable adjustments, support with making informed health decisions (particularly where someone refuses treatment, has a DNACPR proposed or in place without just cause or has anxieties/phobias) or any LD related conditions.

Better Standards of Care – Easy Read

South: Epunft.ldreferrals@nhs.net

North: hpft.necommunityldteam@nhs.net

Mid and West: hpft.mwcommunityldteam@nhs.net

Last updated: 03/04/2024