Here I Am Photo Essay on CDSS.ca

A Photo Essay by CDSS & Hilary Gauld

Life expectancy for Canadians with Down syndrome has more than doubled over the past 40 years—from 25 years in 1983 to over 60 years today. This can be attributed to advances in medical diagnostics and treatment. 

Yet many people still have the false assumption that individuals with Down syndrome do not live into their senior years. This photo essay, “Here I Am”, by CDSS and photographer Hilary Gauld of One for the Wall refutes this misconception with a powerful and indisputable series of portraits featuring seniors and adults with Down syndrome alongside their childhood selves. 

“Our parents told us that Brigette wouldn’t live past seven and now she is 75. She is thought to be one of the oldest living persons in Canada with Down syndrome.”

Marianna, sister and caregiver of photo essay participant Brigitte

As Seen In:

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Brandon, Age 46

Brigitte, Age 75

Allan, Age 44

Chrissy, Age 45

Craig, Age 59

Gus, Age 49

Lynn, Age 58

Maryann, Age 60

Melissa, Age 46

Michael, Age 58

Myron, Age 52

Owen, Age 56

Sean, Age 49

For media inquiries, please contact Shannon Stephaniuk at shannon@glossyinc.com or 416-301-0506

Aging with Down Syndrome

CDSS Today and Tomorrow: A Guide to Aging with Down Syndrome was created to help people with Down syndrome and their caregivers learn more about the aging process and how to plan for the future. You can download a free copy today.

You’ll also find information about changing behaviours into adulthood, Alzheimer’s Disease, and dealing with grief in our Healthy Aging Resource Section.

The Canadian Caregiver Crisis

Celebrating how far the Down syndrome community has come is an important focus of this project, which also shines a spotlight on a growing crisis in Canada—the healthcare system’s growing dependence on unpaid caregivers.

Already 75% of caregiving in Canada is done by unpaid caregivers. As they age, people with Down syndrome are at a higher risk for certain health conditions requiring additional care, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. It is imperative to ensure adequate information, health services and support are available to these individuals.

“As we continue to change the public narrative, this work spreads awareness about Down syndrome. Aging Canadians with Down syndrome and their caregivers should have comprehensive, unbiased information about aging issues, and have access to all of the government support that is available to them. No parent should be left asking ‘who will provide care for my child once I’m gone?’ This photo essay raises awareness and challenges the stereotype that people with Down syndrome don’t live long lives.”

– Laura LaChance, Executive Director, CDSS