Aging with a Developmental Disability: 2005 White House Conference on Aging Listening Session Testimony

Aging with a Developmental Disability: 2005 White House Conference on Aging Listening Session Testimony (2005). Factor, A.

This brief identifies the issues that aging adults with I/DD and their families face, indicating why their service and support needs should be included in the 2005 White House Conference on Aging Agenda.
The “graying” of the United States population also includes adults with MR/DD who are part of the large post-World War II baby boom generation. Like the general population, people with MR/DD are also experiencing increased life expectancy. The mean age at death for persons with MR/DD rose from 19 years during the 1930’s to 66 years in 1993, an increase of 247% (Janicki, Dalton, Henderson & Davidson, 1999). There were an estimated 641,161 adults with MR/DD age 60 and older in the US in 2000. We project this group will nearly double in size to 1.2 million by 2030 when the last of the baby boom generation reaches age 60 (Heller, T. & Factor, A., 2004).

It is also important to recognize that the majority (60%) of individuals with MR/DD live with their families (Fujiura, 2001), and in one quarter of these households the primary caregiver is age 60 or older (Fujiura, 1998). Over the next thirty years, there will be a considerable increase in the number of two-generation elderly families living together where parents age 80 plus are caring for an older son or daughter with a developmental disability. Most families will remain intact as long as possible due to choice or the lack of satisfactory alternatives, even though these arrangements are likely to be compromised by the parents’ health problems. Nationally, an estimated 75,000 families are currently on residential services waiting lists for their relative with MR/DD (Coucouvanis, K., Polister, B., Prouty, R. & Lakin, K.C., 2004).

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