By Christine Bigby

In response to the author's ten years' learn event and social paintings perform services, this pioneering consultant offers modern expert wisdom approximately getting old with a incapacity within the context of the extra mainstream wisdom approximately aging strategies. Dr Chris Bigby makes use of the idea that of 'successful growing old' as a framework within which to think about the problems and practicalities for older individuals with a pre-existing incapacity.

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Extra resources for Ageing With a Lifelong Disability: A Guide to Practice, Program and Policy Issues for Human Services Professionals

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A more flexible approach than strict chronological age is frequently suggested by service providers to accommodate premature age-related changes, 42 / AGEING WITH A LIFELONG DISABILITY although Australian research suggests that such an approach can result in much younger people with high support needs being classified amongst those who are ageing (Bigby et al. 2001). Seltzer, Seltzer and Sherwood (1982) suggest that a definition of older should rest on three criteria as well as chronological ages: · whether in the absence of illness or physical trauma a person displays greater physical disability and lessened physical resources · whether in the absence of illness or physical trauma a person displays diminishing levels of functional skills especially in relation to self-care, personal hygiene and activities or daily living · whether the person or familiar others see him or her as an older person and as preferring to shift to different and age-appropriate activities.

Despite survey data completed by service providers revealing that compared to younger participants a lower proportion of those that were older had high support needs and two-thirds of the older group not having health-related support needs, providers considered that increased resources were required to take account of these same older people’s higher support needs (Bigby et al. 2001). Contrary to current policies reflecting an active concept of ageing, 92 per cent of respondents considered that older participants required a more relaxed and less demanding environment.

Other disability groups, such as people with psychiatric disabilities or drug and alcohol problems, also have increasing numbers who are ageing. However, they are more often included in mental health rather than disability service systems, although there is clearly overlap and shared interests between the two systems as between 25 per cent and 40 per cent of people with intellectual disability also have mental health problems (Emerson et al. 2001). Unbalanced research focus on intellectual disability The results of an extensive international literature search show quite clearly that research, policy and service developments for older people with disabilities focus on those with intellectual or developmental disabilities (Bigby et al.

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