Future looks bleak for ageing US adults with intellectual disabilities

The US is poorly prepared to care for the growing number of aged with intellectual disabilities, according to a commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Nowadays these adults live nearly as long as the general population. “Consequently, the relatively rapid increase in a new population of aging adults with complex medical and mental health problems has resulted in inadequate geriatric health care provision,” say Elizabeth A. Perkins and Julie A. Moran.

The problem is not new. A 2002 report by the US Surgeon General complained about problems with health status, access to care and lack of training for doctors. “Nearly a decade later,” say Perkins and Moran, “progress is slow, and efforts affecting the well-being of older adults are even more marginal.” Stigmas and stereotypes persist, hampering attempts to treat these people with dignity. ~ JAMA, July 7

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