What Does the Future Hold for an Adult with Intellectual Disabilities?

If you start planning early for your child, by the time they reach adulthood, the right programs will be in place to continue upholding their quality of life.

Many adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are living longer today than ever before: the number of adults with I/DD aged 60 and older is expected to jump from 641,860 in 2000 to 1.2 million by 2030. New advances in medicine and treatment options are giving them opportunities they did not have in the past and helping them realize a longer life expectancy. However, these medicinal advances are also raising some serious concerns for the parents and other relatives of these individuals. Some parents are worried about the expected quality of life for adults with intellectual disabilities, especially if their children outlive them.

Who will care for them if their parents pass away? What does the future hold for them? Fortunately, there is a multitude of community resources available.

Common Struggles for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

As a child diagnosed an intellectual disability moves into adulthood, the challenges of meeting needs based on their diagnosis can increase. This may be because they no longer have access to services designed specifically for children (most often, this applies to school education programs). It could also come about if they no longer have as many living family members who can advocate for them. That is why planning for their future before they become adults so the right steps are already in place.

Fortunately, prospects for improving the quality of life for adults with intellectual disabilities are growing all the time, and it is all because of the availability of much-needed resources. Certain community-based resources can provide help with activities of daily living (ADLs), funding for a safe place to live, and programs focused on maintaining as much independence as possible.

Depending on their abilities, they may be able to live on their own with some assistance, or they may be safer in a group care facility. Common challenges include communication issues, public policies, and physical challenges, which all need to be taken into consideration and planned for ahead of time. Independence is important to many adults with intellectual disabilities, as some want to be able do things for themselves and make their own decisions.

With the number of resources available, an adult with intellectual disabilities can receive in-home care and assistance and participate in developmental programs that can enhance their quality of life at home. They can also get financial assistance through Medicaid and other state health care programs, giving them the opportunity to live where they are happy and where they feel most comfortable.

Improving Quality of Life in the Future

One of the best options for improving the quality of life for adults with intellectual disabilities is adult developmental day care. Many adults who have intellectual disabilities and live into middle age or even into their senior years thrive in group settings where they can get the care they need and enjoy the companies of others who share their experience. A designated case manager will be assigned to ensure their quality of life is maintained and that their abilities continue to grow by monitoring their treatment and support plan.

Since there are a number of different services available, deciding which services will be the right choices depends on their diagnosis and their response to each treatment setting. Generally, a group living option can provide adults with intellectual disabilities the assistance they need, especially if their parents or other caregivers are not local or living. Employing case management services in a community setting, the quality of life for adults with intellectual disabilities can continue to be improved.

For more information about available treatment programs for adults with intellectual disabilities, contact Integrity, Inc. in Little Rock at 501-406-0442.

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