Care for Persons with Down Syndrome Who Are Affected by Alzheimer

Over the last thirty years, the average life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome increased from age twenty to over sixty. Despite the increased availability of educational, social and occupational opportunities, the cognitive impairment associated with Down syndrome precludes independent living for the majority of those with Down syndrome. The intersection between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease poses an additional challenge. All persons with Down syndrome show signs of the brain pathology of Alzheimer’s disease by the age of 40. Persons with Down syndrome are 3-5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, with earlier age of onset. This article describes the challenges being faced by a social care provider in California in meeting the needs of its residents with Down syndrome who are affected by Alzheimer’s. This reality challenges similar care providers across the country and the rest of the world, as persons with Down syndrome are now outliving family caregivers.

Research Down Syndrome is addressing this concern by funding scientists who are exploring the connections between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. The research goal would be the development of approved drug therapies to offset the impact of dementia experienced by persons with Down syndrome as they age.

Over the last thirty years, the average life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome increased from age twenty to over sixty. Despite the increased availability of educational, social and occupational opportunities, the cognitive impairment associated with Down syndrome precludes independent living for the majority of those with Down syndrome. The intersection between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease poses an added challenge. All persons with Down syndrome show signs of the brain pathology of Alzheimer’s disease by the age of 40. Persons with Down syndrome are 3-5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, with earlier age of onset. This article describes the challenges being faced by a social care provider in California in meeting the needs of its residents with Down syndrome who are affected by Alzheimer’s. This reality challenges similar care providers across the country and the rest of the world, as persons with Down syndrome are now outliving family caregivers. 

Research Down Syndrome is addressing this concern by funding scientists who are exploring the connections between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. The research goal would be the development of approved drug therapies to offset the impact of dementia experienced by persons with Down syndrome as they age. Your generous donations are assisting RDS in this pursuit. Thank you!