Abstract People with learning disabilities are living longer and are increasingly developing age related conditions including dementia. If this occurs, their medical and social needs pose many challenges for services. A literature review was undertaken of articles published between 1996— 2006. Data was collected relating to the needs of people with learning disabilities and dementia, their carers and their peers. The primary medical need is for timely and accurate diagnosis. There is a multitude of diagnostic tools and advice is available as to which are most suitable for different client groups. The needs of carers are intertwined with those of people with learning disabilities and dementia and meeting their needs for education, training and increased staff numbers, has proved beneficial. Although multiple services will be responsible for the needs of this client group, there is a consensus that learning disability services should be at the heart of service provision.