Interventions to promote health: crossing networks of intellectual and developmental disabilities and aging
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience lower levels of healthy behaviors as do older persons, making health promotion a key priority for these populations.
The aim of this paper is to review the two fields of developmental disability and aging health promotion research in order to understand strategies used by both and to identify emerging and innovative practices that disability researchers can learn from each other.
We conducted scoping reviews of health promotion intervention peer reviewed articles in English from 1991 to 2011 for intellectual and developmental disabilities and from 2007 to 2011 for the more extensive gerontological literature. Two reviewers extracted data.
The disability review identified 34 studies and three main types of interventions: exercise, multi-component, and health screens. The aging review identified 176 articles which had a wider variety of intervention topics and techniques, with more articles including innovative approaches to bringing interventions to community settings across a wider variety of populations.
As people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are living longer, disability health promotion can look to the aging literature for ideas to incorporate in future interventions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, while the gerontological research can learn from the research in intellectual and developmental disabilities on ways to adapt health promotion interventions to people with cognitive and physical limitations. Use of universal design principles could enable greater inclusion of people with disabilities in health promotion interventions for the general aging population.