ERIC Number: EJ837220
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Our Children's "Golden Years"
Exceptional Parent, v39 n3 p82-84 Mar 2009
People commonly expect to stay active well into their 80s, and while it may be hard to believe, people over 100 make up the fastest growing segment of the population. Thankfully, these impressive increases in longevity have also benefited people with developmental disabilities (DD), most of whom can now expect to live just as long as their non-disabled peers. Despite these advances, some causes of DD are still associated with reduced life expectancy. For conditions like the infantile form of Tay-Sachs, survival continues to be limited to early childhood, but thankfully, these conditions are quite rare. Other conditions, such as Down syndrome, have less severe but very real impacts on longevity. Despite the fact that aging with Down syndrome seems to be accelerated in some ways, survival well into adulthood has now become the rule rather than the exception, and an increasing number of individuals are reaching their 60s and 70s. Naturally, the increased longevity is a great blessing, and parents now have access to new and expanding supports that enhance the quality of life for both their children and themselves. However, increased longevity raises some new concerns for parents of children with developmental disabilities as they look to the future. In this article the author discusses some concerns related to aging with developmental disabilities during "the senior years." The author discusses how parents plan a richer life for their children and what they can do to ensure that their child has a long and happy life. The author stresses that the most important thing a parent can do to have a positive impact on his or her child's senior years is to plan ahead.
Descriptors: Quality of Life, Developmental Disabilities, Down Syndrome, Parents, Alzheimers Disease, Dementia, Mental Retardation, Children, Adults
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A