Europe in Action 2013: The needs of ageing persons with intellectual disabilities and their families require immediate attention!

PRESS RELEASE: Ljubljana, 3 June 2013

During the 2013 annual conference of Inclusion Europe, self-advocates, their families, organisations, service-providers and public authorities gathered in Ljubljana to celebrate the increasing longevity of people with intellectual disabilities.

The growing life expectancy of persons with intellectual disabilities is a great achievement of our times resulting from medical and social advances. However, this new situation brings about a wide array of challenges and concerns for individuals, their families and carers which need to be urgently addressed by the adaption of relevant policies and service-provision.

While ageing of the world’s population takes centre stage in the discussion on Europe’s future, persons with intellectual disabilities are largely excluded from this debate. Older persons with intellectual disabilities are most often subject to multiple discrimination. As this is the first generation of people with intellectual disabilities to live so long, the support systems and services to guarantee their quality of life are still to be put in place.

Inclusive person-centred services are the key to ensuring the inclusion, dignity and participation of older persons with intellectual disabilities and their ageing families. The provision of quality inclusive healthcare and health prevention programmes, the availability of easy to understand information and communication in everyday life as well as lifelong access to learning opportunities to maintain the independent living skills, are necessary preconditions for active ageing.

Across Europe, most persons with intellectual disabilities live with their families. The ageing family carers should receive adequate support throughout the lifetime, particularly when reaching old age. Planning for the future needs to start as early as possible to prepare for unforeseeable changes and prevent traumatizing experiences.

Social policies must respond to this new situation and ensure that the necessary support services are widely available and affordable. Individualised funding must be put in place to make sure that personalised services are provided to each individual. The lack of information and data on the situation of elderly people with intellectual disabilities is a significant barrier to policy planning and monitoring and needs to be urgently addressed.

During the Annual General Assembly, Gerhard Kowalski from Unapei (France) was elected and Jordi Costa Molina from FEAPS (Spain) was re-elected for another term on the Board of Inclusion Europe. Two self-advocacy organisations from Romania ‘Pentru Voi Self-Advocacy Group’ and ‘Ceva de Spus’ were admitted to the network.

Taking place on 30 May – 1 June 2013 in Ljubljana, the conference was organised in partnership with Zveza Sožitje, the national association of persons with intellectual disabilities and their families in Slovenia on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The anniversary celebration which took place on 31 May was attended by the President of Slovenia Borut Pahor.

The photos from the conference will soon be available for download at
The presentations given at the conference will be published at

About the organisers:

Inclusion Europe is the European voice and representation of over 60 member organizations of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Founded in 1988, Inclusion Europe has an over 20-year track record of successful operation and defending the rights of its constituency.

Zveza Sožitje is an independent non-profit voluntary organisation with social and humanitarian objectives that strives for the improvement of both collective and individual care of people with intellectual disabilities and their families in the Republic of Slovenia.

For more information about the event, please, contact:

Silvana Enculescu
Communications Officer
Inclusion Europe
Tel.: +32 2 502 28 15
Fax: +32 2 502 80 10