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Aging parents

published in the Republican April 2021

As parents of intellectual and developmental disabilities grow older, they have many concerns about their adult child’s future. Many feel that the quality of support may go down once the parent is gone.
Many parents also feel that their child will be socially isolated and alone in the world with no support. There are also concerns that the adult child will end up in a place where they don’t want to be, such as a nursing home. A large majority fear that the child will be abused, neglected or financially exploited.

Researchers at Eastern Michigan University published a study in the medical journal Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. 320 parents over the age of 50 were surveyed. They were asked about their family situation, including the level of the child’s ability to communicate, socialize, and other behavioral issues.

The study found that behavioral issues were the biggest burden for caregivers, followed by daily living activities. Many caregivers also had concerns about their child’s independence, while a few reported physical violence to be a problem.

The study showed that there is a need for behavioral support programs where families can learn to plan for the future and help their child become more independent.

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