“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease”
(World Health Organisation)
Good health is important to us all. When we feel well we are more likely to engage with others, join in activities and enjoy our lives. Being uncomfortable, in pain or distressed undermines our ability to be independent and participate; and so impacts on the quality of our lives.
People with intellectual disabilities may have a number of health issues. These relate to a number of factors including:
People who have difficulty expressing themselves with words, may find it particularly hard to let others know if they are feeling unwell or in pain. Those supporting them in their lives therefore need to be “tuned in” to their mood and behaviour so illness or disease can be prevented or picked up early. Likewise regular appointments with doctors and other health professionals help those professionals get to know the person, do regularly ‘check-ups’ and prevent or detect those conditions known to be more common in people with particular disabilities.
Strategies to enable people with intellectual disabilities to achieve and maintain optional health, function and wellbeing include:
Achieving and maintaining the best health and function possible is made possible through effective partnerships between the person with the disability, those who support them, and their health professionals.