Ten Ways the Affordable Care Act Helps Older Adults and People with Disabilities

Source: Ten Ways the Affordable Care Act Helps Older Adults and People with Disabilities

Executive Summary Ten Ways ACA Helps Older Adults

NHeLP Senior Policy Analyst David Machledt  provides a succinct examination of the ways the Affordable Care Act is improving the lives of older adults and people with disabilities. For example, the ACA bars health plans from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions and since its enactment 3.6 million people with pre-existing conditions have gained health care coverage.

Draft Principles for a Person-Centered Approach to Serious or Advanced Illness

Deadline: May 12, 2017

ACL, in consultation with stakeholders from the aging and disability communities, has drafted a set of principles to guide their work, and to enhance existing programs and services related to serious or advanced illness for older adults and people with disabilities. ACL is now seeking input from the people they serve-older adults, people with dementia, people with all types of disabilities, and families and caregivers, as well as partners in the aging and disability networks.  The Draft Principles for a Person-Centered Approach to Serious or Advanced Illness is available here. Send your comments, by May 12, 2017, to AdvancedIllness@acl.hhs.gov.

New Issue Brief Available: Opportunities to Improve Nutrition for Older Adults and Reduce Risk of Poor Health Outcomes



A new Issue Brief is now available that addresses opportunities to improve nutrition for older adults and also reduce the risk of poor health outcomes. During National Nutrition Month we focus time on the issue of nutrition, because as people age, they may experience malnutrition.  Appetite and the body’s ability to process food may decrease with age, while health conditions and use of medications that can affect nutrition status may increase.  In addition, limited ability to shop for and prepare food can affect a person’s access to it.  Factors like isolation and depression also can affect nutrition.

Social Support Networks of Aging Persons with Intellectual Disabilities

2pm – 3pm CST


Presented by: Lieke van Heumen, PhD

This webinar will discuss emerging research and practice in supporting social networks of adults aging with intellectual disabilities. After a brief introduction on aging in this population, the webinar will discuss the role of social relations in later life and address the state of knowledge regarding the social support networks of older adults with intellectual disabilities. The webinar will provide a discussion of the role of support services in promoting informal networks and conclude with an exploration of the use of social network mapping and life story work in person-centered planning.

Lieke van Heumen is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago. Lieke’s primary research interest is the intersection of aging and disability with a focus on supports that contribute to aging well. She believes retrieving the lived experiences of older adults with disabilities by means of inclusive and accessible research methods is key to assuring the meaningful engagement of adults with disabilities in the research process.

Aging and Dementia Care for People with Intellectual Disabilities

 Thursday, February 16, 2017

3:00pm | Eastern Daylight Time

Presented by: Matthew Janicki, PhD

Many organizations are seeing the aging of their clientele and their numbers increase, and concerns are growing about how to deal with age-associated effects evidenced with aging. One such age-associated condition, Alzheimer’s disease (and related dementias), affects a significant number of adults with Down syndrome (about 65% of adults age more than 60) and a proportional number of adults with other causes of intellectual disability (about 6% of adults age more than 60). Many at-risk adults live on their own or with friends, and many affected adults live in small community group homes or with their families. How to provide sound and responsive community care is becoming a challenge for agencies faced with an increasing number of such affected adults. This webinar covers key elements of dementia and how it affects adults with intellectual disabilities, provides a brief overview of screening and assessment strategies and methods, and examines ways that organizations can employ to adapt their current services to make them dementia capable. Specifically covered are the elements and types of dementia, as well its onset, duration and effect, and techniques for adapting environments, aiding with staff interactions and communication, as well as challenges to active and supportive programming. Models for supports depending on the stage of dementia are also discussed, as are training foci areas and community care models that provide for “dementia capable” supports and services. Special attention is given to the use of group homes as a viable community care model.

Matthew P. Janicki, Ph.D. is the co-chair of the US National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices, research associate professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Director for Technical Assistance for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Developmental Disabilities and Health (RRTCDD) at the University.

 Play recording (1 hr 4 min)


National Goals Conference: Aging Strand

National Goals in Research, Practice and Policy for and with People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Setting a National Agenda for Aging Research, Practice, and Policy

In August 2015, a National Goals in Research, Policy, and Practice working meeting was held in Washington, DC to summarize the current state of knowledge and identify a platform of national goals, organized by 10 focus areas, in research, practice, and policy in intellectual and developmental disabilities. The products were developed in each strand for a variety of audiences with the overarching goal of advancing a research agenda that will influence policy and practice for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities over the next 10 years.

View Aging Issue Brief, AAIDD Inclusion Journal Article, and Video

Ageing-related experiences of adults with learning disability resident in rural areas: one Australian perspective

Stuart Wark, Miranda Canon-Vanry, Peta Ryan, Rafat Hussain, Marie Knox, Meaghan Edwards, Marie Parmenter, Trevor Parmenter, Matthew Janicki, andChez Leggatt-Cook

British Journal of Learning Disabilities: Special Issue: Aging and People with Learning Disabilities
Volume 43, Issue 4, Pages 293–301
December 2015


  • This paper is about older people with learning disabilities who live in the country in Australia.
  • We talked to both individuals and their carers to find out what things helped them they got older, and what things made it harder.
  • These people said that they were well supported by the local community and particularly their doctors.
  • However, many people in this project also reported problems about living in the country such as limited choices and being forced to make decisions they did not like.


Background: Access to support services in rural areas is known to be problematic both in Australia, and in other countries around the world, but the majority of research on the population of people ageing with learning disability has so far focussed on metropolitan residents. The authors report about select aspects of the lived experience of older adults with learning disability resident in rural locations in two states of Australia.

Materials and Methods:
This pilot project examined data drawn from 34 semi-structured interviews conducted with 17 older adults and 17 carers. Responses were analysed for thematic areas.

Results: It was observed that the capacity of certain rural areas to support meaningful choice-making was limited due to constraints of access to key services, including community-based aged care, generic and specialist health services, and both supported disability and aged-care residential options. Responses indicated that those living in both small- and medium-sized congregate care settings (such as group homes and residential aged-care facilities) had more limited choices and only partial (if any) control over their living situation.

Conclusion: An understanding of the needs of older adults with learning disability resident in rural areas is important to ensure that both aged-care and disability support structures are built on individuals’ needs.