Beset by obstacles: a review of Australian policy development to support ageing in place for people with intellectual disability

J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2008 Mar;33(1):76-86. doi: 10.1080/13668250701852433.


Background: Australian government policy regards people with intellectual disability (ID) as citizens with equal rights, which means that they should have access to the same opportunities as the wider community. Ageing in place is central to aged care policy in Australia for the general population.

Method: This paper reviews policy to support the provision of similar opportunities to age in place for people with ID, and the reasons for its slow development.

Results: Due to lifestyle patterns earlier in the life course, many people with ID experience a mid-life disruption to their accommodation, and may live in a group home as they age or may move prematurely to residential aged care. The absence of mechanisms to adjust disability funding as needs change, and the existence of policy that denies residents in group homes access to community-based aged care, forces disability services to "go it alone" to support ageing in place.

Conclusion: Despite a national priority to improve the interface between the disability and aged care sectors, administrative and funding characteristics continue to obstruct the development of implementation strategies to support ageing in place for people with ID, which remain at the stage of an exploration of the issues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Caregivers
  • Forecasting
  • Group Homes / trends*
  • Health Plan Implementation / trends
  • Health Services Accessibility / trends
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / trends
  • Health Services for the Aged / trends*
  • Homes for the Aged / trends*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology
  • Intellectual Disability / rehabilitation*
  • Nursing Homes / trends*
  • Policy Making*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Social Support