BACKGROUND: Australia's national ageing policy recognises that people ageing with intellectual disability (ID) require particular attention, yet there is no policy framework concerning this population. This study describes the distribution and characteristics of people with ID in residential aged care in Victoria, provides insights into the pathways they take into aged care, and gives some indications of how facilities adapt to their needs. METHOD: A postal survey was sent to 826 residential aged care facilities in Victoria, seeking information from directors about their residents with ID. Facilities that responded were fairly representative of all facilities in Victoria. FINDINGS: Residents with ID were younger, had entered at an earlier age and remained longer than other residents. Their reported dependency profile was similar to the general aged care population, although the incidence of dementia was lower. Primary areas of concern identified by providers were: inability to fit into the resident community, lack of participation in activities and lack of meaningful relationships. CONCLUSION: This study provides a first glimpse into how older people with ID find their way into aged care and how others view their experiences once there. It suggests that further investigation is required into the accuracy of assessment undertaken prior to entry to more clearly understand whether residents with ID are inappropriately placed in residential aged as a result of a shortage of disability accommodation and inadequate resources to support aging in place for those in such accommodation.