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Aging Together: Caring Relations in Families of Adults With Intellectual Disabilities

Purpose of the Study: To examine the dynamics of caring relations in older families that include an adult with Intellectual Disabilities (ID). To date, there has been very little research exploring the experiences of aging families of community-dwelling adults with ID.

Design and Methods: An exploratory, qualitative study was conducted in British Columbia, Canada. Eight participants were recruited through purposive sampling. In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted to explore the experience of aging concurrently with a community-dwelling relative with ID. Data were analyzed using a thematic approach.

Results: Three main themes emerged: (a) Recognizing the Changes of Aging, (b) Strengthening Connections, and (c) Planning for the Future.

Implications: Aging concurrently with a community-dwelling relative with ID is a unique experience for older adults and challenges traditional views of familial caring relations. These relationships are characterized by evolving patterns of care and exchange. There is also a sense of urgency to securing future care arrangements for the adult relative with ID. Advanced care-planning is complicated by the adult with ID’ understanding of death and dying. Family caregiving policies and practices that take into account the complexities of these relationships are needed.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
Oxford university press
ISBN/ISSN
0016-9013
Publication Year
2017
Issue Number
2
Journal Titles
Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume Number
57
Start Page
341
End Page
347