New report: Going for GOLD! Growing Older with Learning Disabilities

GM GOLD (Growing Older with Learning Disabilities) was an inclusive research project carried out by a team of older people with learning disabilities, led by Manchester Metropolitan University.

We wanted to find out what older people with learning disabilities think about their local area, whether they feel part of their local community and what support or barriers exist to meaningful social contacts, interactions and activities.

We are now delighted to publish the final report, Going for GOLD! Growing Older with Learning Disabilities: An inclusive research project to reduce social isolation amongst older adults with learning disabilities.

What we found:

It is vital that we work to change public perceptions and behaviours towards people with learning disabilities. This may be long term but is vitally important to improve their lives and sense of belonging.

Due to experiences of discrimination, segregation and low economic status, people with learning disabilities may be more vulnerable to the negative impacts of growing older through the potential long-term impact on self-esteem and confidence. They also experience more health inequalities than the rest of the population and as a result need accessible and inclusive support throughout their lives to live healthy lifestyles to remain healthy longer.

  • It is vital that future planning takes place with families and individuals so that older people with learning disabilities are better supported to deal with the transition that often takes place when their parents die.

Visit this website to read the report in full, a summary briefing, and an evaluation of the experiences of the older people involved in delivering this research project. Easier to read versions of the reports are also available.

Printed and easier to read versions of the reports are also available. If you would like printed versions of the reports please contact:


If you would like any more information about the project please contact

Dr Melanie Chapman
Research Fellow (Disability & Community)
Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care
Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester M15 6GX

Follow @DrMelChapman @wearegmgold and @BeingWarm on Twitter