Due to advances in care and medical treatment there has been a steady improvement in the life expectancy and quality of life for persons with Down syndrome (DS). It is not known if the increase in longevity will also mean that age-dependent diseases in a younger generation of adults with DS will occur at a later age. Comparing two generations of adults can give us insight into the different health aspects experienced by adults with DS. Methods: A prospective longitudinal DS study cohort was set up, consisting of participants at a DS outpatient clinic. This clinic provides a yearly multidisciplinary DS Health Watch program. Since its inception, 141 persons have agreed to participate in a longitudinal prospective study, the "Health Watch study." They visited the outpatient clinic annually from 2007 to 2015, a mean follow-up of about 5 years (0.1-8.4 years). The mean age of the participants was 33.9 years (18-70 years). Of those, 25% were younger than 20 and 25% were older than 44. Cross-sectional data were used to compare the generations. Results: Findings are baseline data of this longitudinal "Health Watch study." The results show a discrepancy in health conditions and functional characteristics between those in the age category of 44 years and older and those below the age of 20 years. Conclusion: This study suggests that differences observed between the generations are possible predictors of a healthier state and longer life expectancy for a younger generation of adults with DS. Only a longitudinal follow-up can confirm these findings.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Aging, Down syndrome, Health, Intellectual disabilities, Life expectancy
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/jppi.12214, hdl.handle.net/1765/94570
Journal Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Coppus, A.M.W. (2016). Comparing Generational Differences in Persons With Down Syndrome. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities. doi:10.1111/jppi.12214