Online Program

Lived experiences and public health needs of aging and elderly women with intellectual disabilities

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nechama Greenwood, CPM, MA, Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medine, Boston, MA
Joanne Wilkinson, MD, MSc, Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Adults with intellectual disabilities(ID) are living longer than ever before and now have life spans almost comparable to the general population. Increased lifespans, deinstitutionalization and changes in support service provision policies have resulted in the first generation of adults with intellectual disabilities to age en masse in the community. As such, health and social service infrastructure may not be in place to accommodate the needs of this aging population and new solutions are needed. We undertook a qualitative study to better understand the needs and experiences of aging women with ID. This poster will review public health needs of aging and elderly women with ID, including residential supports, supported retirement, training for elderly services providers in the specific needs and challenges of elderly adults with ID, record keeping (due to death of parents and/or lack of connection with family members as a result of past practices in institutionalization), community engagement, targeted health education and supported decision making. We will also present the experiences of participants. Key themes include the importance of agency and choice in planning for aging, a desire for health education related to menopause, the beneficial effects of community integration and a desire to “age in place”/remain in a community setting, and the importance of relationships and social connections. Strategies for optimizing aging in women with ID will also be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe at least 4 public health needs of aging and elderly adults with intellectual disabilities Discuss 2 strategies for promoting healthy aging for adults with intellectual disabilities

Keyword(s): Aging, Disability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a student/new researcher completing a master's degree in medical anthropology and qualitative research. My mentored research has focused on aging adults with intellectual disabilities, including acting as PI of a participatory research study focused on aging adults with ID. I have a clinical background in women's health. In addition, I work as a research coordinator for several studies focused on primary health care access for women with intellectual disabilities, under Joanne Wilkinson, MD.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.