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"Gray Issues" for Iowans with Disabilities

PHOTO: While no one has solid numbers of how many Iowans with developmental disabilities currently live with elderly parents as caregivers, advocates are already concerned about the  potential problems that will arise when they die.
PHOTO: While no one has solid numbers of how many Iowans with developmental disabilities currently live with elderly parents as caregivers, advocates are already concerned about the potential problems that will arise when they die.
February 22, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa – No one has any firm information on the number of Iowans with developmental disabilities currently living with elderly parents as caregivers, but some see a potential problem arising as the state's population ages.

What happens to those people when their caregivers die?

Joe Sample is the aging and disability resource center director with the Iowa Department of Aging and a member of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council

"Persons who need a lot of support based on their disability could very well end up in an institutional-based setting,” he says. “And as we know the institutional based settings are often times much more expensive than home and community-based services."

Sample says advocates for people with disabilities are already making plans by helping these families make plans for the future.

"Such as somebody who could come and help you with basic needs in the home,” he says, “even some home health supports to help individuals get that support in the home, so they can live as long as possible in their preferred environment versus an institutional-based setting."

Sample says thanks to better health care over the years, people with developmental disabilities are also living longer, which means they will require additional care longer.


Richard Alan/Scott Herron, Public News Service - IA