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Sustaining Supportive Networks




The lifespan of people with intellectual disabilities has increased dramatically in the last 50 years, from an average of 22 years in 1931 to 66 years in 1997. Thus ageing people with intellectual disabilities are a relatively new group in the community and the current cohort is the first to survive into later life in any sizeable number. Professionals working in community care from the health, disability or aged care sectors have little knowledge about this group or experience of working with them. Little policy and few service development strategies are in place to address their particular needs. This chapter provides background information for health professionals on this topic, and discusses optimal pathways to ensure a good quality of life in the community.


Contents include

  • The impact of intellectual disability’
  • Characteristics of ageing people with intellectual disability
  • Maintaining community living
  • Case studies
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Author / Editor Biographies

BA (Hons), MSW and PhD.
Christine Bigby is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Work and Social Policy at La Trobe University, Bundoora. She has extensive experience as a social work practitioner in both direct service and policy development. Her primary research and practice interest for the last 10 years has been older carers and ageing people with intellectual disability. Her doctoral research examined the informal and formal sources of support for middle-aged and older people with intellectual disability and the nature of their transition from parental care in mid-life.

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