Clinical study of the effects of age on the physical health of adults with mental retardation

Am J Ment Retard. 1998 May;102(6):582-9. doi: 10.1352/0895-8017(1998)102<0582:csoteo>;2.


Physical disorders and pharmacotherapy for all 134 people with mental retardation ages 65 years and over living in Leicestershire, United Kingdom, were examined. Results were compared with a randomly selected group of 73 younger adults with mental retardation. Group comparisons revealed higher rates of urinary incontinence, immobility, hearing impairments, arthritis, hypertension, and cerebrovascular disease among the older group. The younger group had higher rates of dermatological disorders; congenital heart disease; ear, nose, and throat (ENT) disorders; and neurological disorders (excluding Parkinson disease). The older group took more drugs for physical illness. The effect of ageing on physical morbidity outweighs the effect of people with more severe mental retardation dying younger: Older people with mental retardation have significant physical health needs.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Drug Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged