April 24, 2024

Future looks bleak for ageing US adults with intellectual disabilities

Doctors poorly trained to care for them, says JAMA

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

Michael Cook
ageing population
Down syndrome