Monday, April 3, 2017

Older Adults Raising Intellectually Disabled Children (Research, Video 1:33)

The numbers of older adults raising intellectually disabled children through adulthood continues to increase and will be very significant over the next 30 years. What they undergo in their parenting roles is often not fully known or understood by most people, particularly regarding their unpleasant experiences. Through unstructured in-depth interviews, research regarding older adult parenting of intellectually disabled children revealed several themes.

Bitterness is one of the four emergent themes extracted in this study, which has these five theme clusters:

1) Inappropriate behavior toward the child in society

2) Society's failure to support the child with intellectual disability

3) Sorrows experienced by parents

4) The child's problems

5) Barriers in the care of the child with intellectual disability

6) Limitations due to aging

These results suggest that older adult parents of children with intellectual disabilities experience many sorrows and unpleasant feelings. However, further investigation reveals that they mostly consider the social factors as the cause of problems and not the presence of the child. Results also indicate that older parents cannot look after the child in their old age as they did in earlier years. This gives them another level of concern. More research s needed on how these older adults can be supported better by society while maintaining their own quality of life.

This video features CJE Senior Life's Linkages program, which identifies and addresses the issues, needs and challenges of older adults and families with adult children with disabilities. Monthly support groups offer parents the opportunity to discuss their mutual concerns. Located in the Chicago, IL area, they provide a wide range of services.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

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