Background As part of a UK programme of work focusing on older people with intellectual disabilities, the circumstance of those who reside in generic services for older people were investigated.
Materials and methods Questionnaires were sent to 2570 residential and nursing homes in 53 local authorities across the UK.
Results Five hundred and thirty returned questionnaires identified 215 people with intellectual disabilities currently living in 150 homes. They were significantly younger than the other residents, and were placed in these homes more often because of organizational change or the ageing/death of a family carer, rather than any changes in their own needs. Several potential indicators of a low quality of life were identified, including limited opportunities to get out, to access day services, to have contact with family or friends and to receive input from professionals outside the home.
Conclusions Attention needs to be given both to people with intellectual disabilities already residing in older people's services and to the prevention of further inappropriate placements.