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Bridging the Aging and Developmental Disabilities Service Networks: Challenges and Best Practices – 2012


It is estimated that there are over 850,000 individuals with developmental disabilities over the age of 60 in the United States, and this number will increase to 1.4 million by 2030 due to the growing older population.  The Institute on Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago organized this challenges and best practices guide to encourage the “bridging” of the aging and developmental disabilities service networks that are both in need of including managed long-term, integrated care for people who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, and rebalancing initiatives that promote community living.

Key Points

The purpose of the discussed initiative is to identify policy and service delivery issues pertaining to older adults with disabilities and their families, and recommend opportunities to enhance the collaboration of necessary aging, disability and long-term care networks. Based on this purpose, there were four overarching goals uncovered for uniting aging and developmental service networks: raise the visibility of developmental disabilities concerns in policy reforms, improve program implementation of health and long- term support initiatives to better address needs of persons with developmental disabilities, develop a workforce with knowledge and skills to address disability and aging issues, and better understand the age-related needs and best practices in meeting those needs through research and evaluation.

Other report highlights include:

  1. Adults with developmental disabilities are more likely to develop chronic health conditions at younger ages than other adultsbecause of the convergence of biological factors related to syndromes and associated disabilities, as well as lack of access to adequate health care, and lifestyle and environmental issues.
  2. People of all ages with disabilities want to be part of their community, and such opportunities are especially important for older adults with developmental disabilities who want to age in place for as long as possible.
  3. Nearly 60 percent of adults with developmental disabilities live with family, and although all states now fund family support in some way, in 2009, nationalfamily support expenditures accounted foronly 7 percent of total national developmental disabilitiesexpenditures.

How to Use

This report provides data on the number of people with developmental disabilities served nationally, as well as identifies states serving the largest number of people with developmental disabilities. Based on this information, and primary research conducted, such as interviews with key informants, best practices and obstacles were uncovered. All of this data can help local officials and planners when determining what needs to be done in terms of increasing collaboration between aging, disability and long-term care networks in their area.

Full Report: Bridging the Aging and Developmental Disabilities Service Networks: Challenges and Best Practices (2012) (PDF 1.2 MB)

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