Aging And People With Developmental Disabilities

Developmental disabilities usually involve a problem with how a part of the body or body system is able to function. Such developmental disabilities impact a number of body parts or systems. Developmental disabilities include nervous system disabilities, sensory related disabilities, metabolic disorders and degenerative disorders. With aging, these disabilities affect people in a different way that needs some special care and attention. If aging people with developmental disabilities are given a chance, they too can have a nice life.

With the rapid advancement of healthcare systems, aging people with developmental disabilities can expect a longer life than ever before. There is increasing focus these days on this aging population which is reflected in the development of new healthcare system including, medicine, rehabilitation, and social services.

For helping people with developmental disabilities, both aging and children, there are developmental disabilities services that generally follow a set of governing principles and the guiding principles of service. Among them is the principle which says that people with developmental disabilities must be able to relate to their families, friends and communities according to their choice. And, in addition to the medical and psychological attention, aging people with developmental disabilities also need recreation and fun to make their lives enjoyable. It has been observed that if these people get the opportunity to have some exercise on a regular basis, they become fitter and can enjoy various types of together and with their other friends.

A study conducted by a US rehabilitation center found that most aging people with developmental disabilities stayed away from exercise on account of fear of injury, pain, low energy level, transportation problems, unfriendly ambience of most exercise clubs, ignorance of staff about tailoring exercise with respect to disabilities, inaccessible equipment and little support for participation. Respondents asked for programs like independent exercise, group activities, fitness assistance, and personal training. These were later found to benefit aging people with developmental disabilities immensely.

People having developmental disabilities usually experience the effects of aging much earlier than normal people. They generally have higher rates of health problems such as obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and osteoporosis than their contemporaries sans disabilities. These conditions, in turn, cause pain, fractures, and loss of balance. These make their condition even more complex and make it tougher to stay healthy.

So we need to address the physical, psychological, as well as social dimensions of aging as we become older, including those with disabilities. Regular physical exercise is a nice option available for maintaining well-being. It increases and maintains muscle strength and flexibility, maintains the solidity of bones, improves heart functioning, and helps in weight control. More importantly perhaps, exercise also helps improve mental health and sharpening cognitive abilities to a considerable extent. It can in the form of a social activity, more so if done on a regular basis with the same group of people, and it can sustain the physical ability to engage in other social and recreation activities. Initial studies show exercise is really beneficial for aging people with developmental disabilities.

We all, especially professional healthcare providers and social welfare organizations, should do our best to in all respects to make the lives of these aging people with disabilities a little more spicy and enjoyable.