Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Conferences
  3. Conference 2013
  4. Preventing another Winterbourne View - the perspective from older family carers

Preventing another Winterbourne View - the perspective from older family carers

Oxfordshire Family Support Network

Oxfordshire Family Support Network is small charity that is run by carers for carers. The Changing Scenes Project, aimed at older family carers aged over 60 was set up to offer peer to peer support to older families. This project has been running for just over 6 months.


Nationally, it is estimated that 60% of adults with a learning disability are still living in the family home with their family carers.

Approximately one-third of the adults living in a the family home are with carers aged 70 or over.

Mencap Housing Time Bomb Report, 2002

The events at Winterbourne View have raised many concerns about how people with learning disabilities are supported in both residential care and in supported living. Many older carers worry about the quality of care and the risk of abuse to their sons and daughters, particularly when they are no longer around to advocate for them. They remain committed to caring for their adult children as long as possible in order to give them secure, well-supported lives.

  • What are the factors that make parents decide to continue to care in old age?
  • Are there lessons we can learn from their life-time of caring?
  • What experiences in the past have shaped their decision-making? How have they successfully carried out this role?
  • What part do other family members play?
  • How do our current systems of care need to improve, based on the challenges that they have faced over many years?
  • Has personalisation given more creative alternatives to residential care or supported living to ensure that their sons and daughters can live fulfilling lives?
  • Can we identify how to put in place more effective support to older families to ensure they can care for as long as they choose to do so?

The presentation will consist of conversations with four older family carers, exploring their views about their past experiences of caring, their learning about how to ensure their relatives are having safe care and the support that the feel they need to help them continue being carers to their sons and daughters. They will reflect on their experiences, both positive and negative about care quality and safeguarding. There will be time to question families about their perspective and their choices afterwards.

Jan Sunman

For more information, please contact Jan Sunman, Oxfordshire Family Support Network on 07596 784 947 or

Contact us

About the Group

If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:

Liz Tilley 
Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

About the website

If you have any feedback or would like to report a problem with the website, please contact