This Australian study set out to explore the issues relating to retirement for older employees with learning disabilities in supported employment services.
The researchers discussed retirement in 6 separate focus group interviews, with staff from disability accommodation and employment services, members of mainstream activity programmes for older people, family members of people with disabilities and supported employees themselves – 2 groups of 6 people. They interviewed 35 people in total.
The findings suggested that those who were interviewed were less than optimistic about the possibilities for older people with learning disabilities approaching retirement. They thought the transition represented a risk to the well-being of employees and to their continued participation in their communities.
They thought the necessary support in retirement would not be available. They identified the need for additional resources and skills, but felt that the current services on offer would only lead to continued segregation in retirement.
The authors conclude that the perception of participants were at odds with the policy direction of personalisation and inclusion and this represented an additional barrier to conceptualising and planning for continued quality of life in retirement for older employees with learning disabilities
Disconnected expectations: Staff, family, and supported employee perspectives about retirement, Bigby et al, in Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 36. 3 167-174