Down Syndrome in Adults – Staying Healthy
If you are having any symptoms or have any questions, please call 811 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day.
Like everyone else, adults who have Down syndrome need regular health care. If you have a loved one with Down syndrome, ensure that they are going to the doctor for regular checkups. They also may need to be checked for certain health problems that are more common in people who have Down syndrome. Examples include thyroid disease, arthritis, and problems with vision, hearing, and the cervical spine.
Path to improved health
Preventive care will help your relative stay healthy. Being able to lead an independent life can help as well. You can help your relative achieve this in the following ways.
- It’s good to make plans for your relative to live on their own. Look at housing options such as group homes, supervised independent living, or family-owned independent housing.
- Most adults who have Down syndrome enjoy exercise and getting involved. Ask your relative about their hobbies and interests. Options can range from adult day programs to the Special Olympics.
- Your relative may be interested in education beyond high school or specialized training. See if there are local classes, programs, or opportunities.
- Having a job can add increased meaning to life. It may encourage your relative to become more responsible. Work options include sheltered workshops, supported employment, and regular employment.
- Many people benefit from a local Down syndrome group or mentor. It helps to see what life is like and provides support.
Things to consider
It is important to monitor your relative for changes in behavior. People who have Down syndrome may develop symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease (a kind of dementia). This can occur earlier than normal when they are in their 30s. Symptoms may include memory loss, withdrawal, or aggression. However, do not just assume that your relative has dementia. There could be other causes, such as stress, depression, or a medical issue. Talk to your relative’s healthcare provider about your concerns.
Canadian Down Syndrome Society