Carer Knowledge and Experiences With Menopause in Women With Intellectual Disabilities

Diane S. Willis, Jennifer G. Wishart, Walter J. Muir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Overall life expectancy for women with intellectual disabilities (ID) is now significantly extended, and many will live long enough to experience menopause. Little is known about how carers support women with ID through this important stage in their lives. This study investigated carer knowledge of how menopause affects women with ID under their care and how they may help them to cope with it. One-to-one interviews were undertaken with 69 carers (7 male/62 female) from a range of backgrounds, all with current responsibility for the care of one or more pre-, peri-, and/or postmenopausal women with ID. Carers reported difficulty in disentangling the psychological and physical consequences of the menopause from behaviors and symptoms arising from other causes. There was general recognition of the transitional importance of menopause and a widespread acknowledgment of the resilience that many women with ID show in coping with it. However, carers emphasized the need for health resources to be better tailored to the women's needs and for more relevant health education training for staff. The authors conclude that additional and new demands are placed on service provision as women with ID live longer. An increased awareness of health issues relating to menopause is needed, as are more appropriate and readily available relevant health education materials for women with ID in middle age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-48
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of policy and practice in intellectual disabilities
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

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