New study into ageing society with intellectual disabilities

Published 28 August 2015

Robert[6] copyPeople with disabilities are living longer than before and increasingly reaching an age where they may start needing aged care as well as disability care.

This creates a conundrum as current services available in Australia tend to cater for people with disabilities or our ageing population, but not both.

Researchers at the University of New England, in partnership with support agencies such as the Endeavour Foundation, The Ascent Group, Ability Options, and Uniting Care Ageing are researching how to better meet the needs of people who are ageing, both with disabilities and without disabilities.

The study, led by Professor Rafat Hussain, examines health, well-being, service usage and social care issues experienced by people as they are growing older.

The research team is currently conducting surveys and interviews with individuals aged over 60, with and without intellectual disabilities, carers, senior managers and policy makers in the aged care and disability sectors.

“We strongly believe that ageing people should have the choice not to be institutionalised regardless of whether they have intellectual impairment,” Prof Hussain said.

“This study will help us understand the choices available to ageing people with disabilities and to advise policy makers accordingly.”

The researchers are currently calling for people without life-long intellectual disabilities, from rural and urban regions of NSW and QLD, who are aged 60 or older, currently living in the community (not in aged care), to complete a printed or online survey.

For more information on how to promote the survey, or to request a hard copy, contact the project coordinator, Dr Joy Bowles on 1800 824 414 or people can go online to do the survey.

This study has been approved by the UNE’s Human Research Ethics Committee and any information provided to the research team is strictly confidential.