Senior’s Blog for Down Syndrome Day

March 21st is Down Syndrome Day. It is a day of awareness of the challenge of having a child who has Down Syndrome, of the fears, joys and challenges of being a parent of a child with Down but also a day of celebration as health and medical science has supported many persons with Down syndrome to live a long life into their 60s and 70s.

Individuals who have Down Syndrome who are ageing, can be challenged with a number of conditions associated with ageing bodies, sometimes before their cohorts who do not have the syndrome. How can parents support their adult and ageing children living with Down syndrome to remain well? As a home care provider and disability provider, Senior Helpers can also be a client supporter, promoting health and providing guidance when parents are no longer able to do so.

Surprisingly, according to the Down Syndrome Australia (2018), preventative health screening is a great start – something we all need as the mileage creeps up!

Keeping a health diary is a helpful start, a place where records, appointments and test results can be kept safe for later reference.

There are a number of screening tests recommended for all adults with Down syndrome to try to get a handle on changes before they become a problem.

Every year for men and women:

  • Blood test for thyroid function, full blood count, urea and electrolytes, liver function, cholesterol and blood glucose.
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cardiac assessment

Every year for men:

  • Testes exam
  • At age 50, a prostate antigen test

Every 2 years for women and men:

  • Audiology testing
  • Visual screening with an optometrist
  • Screening for coeliac disease

Every 2 years for women aged 50 years and over:

  • Mammogram

Every 5 years for women:

  • PAP smear if they have been sexually active

Every 5 years after the age of 50 for both men and women:

  • Bowel screening
  • Haemorrhoids check

Keeping healthy and enjoying a long life requires regular maintenance, especially with Down syndrome.

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