Lifespan Health And Function 

The lifespan of a person depends on their health and medical condition. Research studies have found that people with disabilities have shorter lifespans than others. Moreover, they are always at risk of suffering from chronic illnesses. Their disabilities are the only reason that makes them vulnerable physically and emotionally. Thus, there is a strong need to improve their health facilities and services. It will be beneficial for the overall betterment of society. The support that people with disabilities look for should be provided to them. Otherwise, they won't become self-determined. 

Bringing Stakeholders Together Across Aging and Disability 

People with disabilities experience challenges when they age because many healthcare centers ignore the symptoms. It was first noticed by the chair of March of Dimes Canada (MODC), Jeannette Shannon. She was 69 years old when she shared her concern regarding the same. 

Between the period of 2007-2011, various Growing Older with Disability (GOWD) conferences were held. The Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging, and Technology (FICCDAT) also contributed to taking this discussion to a broader audience. These conferences focused on Shannon's views about disability and aging. Fortunately, all of them were successful in discussing this complex issue. 

The creation of GOWD and FICCDAT helped a lot in identifying the problems in the healthcare systems and their solutions. The conferences were held in 39 different countries, and more than 1300 people attended them. The greater reach is one of the most significant reasons behind the success. Many representatives from NGOs, organizations, communities, government agencies, etc., also gave immense support.  

The primary goal of GOWD and FICCDAT is to give rise to an international platform to discuss the critical issues of aging and disability. Everyone must know about it to support the disabled community with better means. 

Key Focal Areas For Bridging The Fields Of Aging And Disability 

Older people with disabilities need support and better healthcare facilities to improve their lives. With the help of GOWD and FICCDAT conferences, researchers found five focal areas. They are required to bridge the fields of aging and disability. 

  • Bridging between aging and disability sectors: There is a vast difference in the experiences of a younger and an older person with disabilities. Some people grow old with disabilities, while others acquire the disabilities when they grow old. However, in both these situations, better healthcare facilities and services, support from society and government, and more are equally important. Therefore, it is necessary to bridge the gaps between the aging and disability sectors. 

The primary goal of bridging is to make organizations, stakeholders, authorities, society, and other healthcare centers provide the support the aging people need. 

  • Facilitating bridging through theoretical frameworks of individual aging: The GOWD conferences resulted in different theoretical frameworks. There are two significant theories or models that explain everything precisely. 

The life course perspective: Through this perspective, it has been found that age and disability are not considered traits of a human being. Both of them are phenomena that happen in the course of life. The following five principles help us understand this perspective-

  • Life-span development: The experiences of aging and disability are a part of the life span. 
  • Time and place: The life course depends on historical, geographical, and social contexts. 
  • Agency: A person's choices and actions create their experience. 
  • Timing: A particular event or incident affects a person according to the timing. 
  • Linked people: People connected to individuals (with disabilities) also impact their lives. 

The life course perspective is an integral theory for comprehending the needs of individuals with disabilities. 

  • Bio-psychosocial model: Another essential model presented by researchers and experts is the bio-psychosocial model. According to this theory, a disability results from various biological, social, and personal forces. An individual's condition and experience depend on these factors. This model is significant because it can promote equality for people with disabilities.
  • Bridging through knowledge transfer: Knowledge transfer refers to sharing information, views, and ideas regarding a particular subject. It is a beneficial way of discussing important topics and finding solutions. The best part is that anyone can share their views without any hesitation. Knowledge transfer will also help in bridging the fields of aging and disability. 
  • Bridging through customer participation: Customer participation is another way of bridging aging and disability. Researchers should avoid assuming the needs of people with disabilities. A suitable method to identify what they want is by giving them opportunities. They should discuss everything with them and their families to understand their viewpoints. When people with disabilities get the chance to have their say, they will also become self-determined. It further uplifts their confidence in the future. 
  • Assistive technology and long-term support opportunities: Assistive technologies can benefit people with disabilities only when they understand how to use them. Unfortunately, many people don't have access to these technologies or even learn them. Therefore, researchers need to focus on finding solutions to this issue. 

There were three development phases in the GOWD conference report. In the first one, the researchers find out all the issues with the help of some scholarly papers. Then in the next phase, all the problems that emerged in the first step were reviewed. In the last stage, all the experts and professionals analyzed everything and shared their views.

Using Assistive Technology To Maximize Function In Older Adults With Developmental Disabilities 

Assistive technology makes the lives of people with disabilities much more convenient. They can improve their overall experience through assistive services and products. As you know, people with disabilities need the support of others for their everyday tasks. Assistive technologies and services are beneficial to provide them with the help they need from people. There is no other way to maximize function in older individuals with developmental disabilities. 

The only problem with assistive technologies is that they are not accessible to everyone. According to a study, only one in ten people can use these services and products. These products should be less expensive to offer to a more extensive section. 

Outcomes of Assistive Technology Services and Use by Adults with Developmental Disabilities 

People with disabilities can improve their quality of life by using assistive technology. But it is crucial to spread the information about these services to everyone. Many issues make it challenging to provide them to every disabled individual. The experts need to do more research regarding these issues and find solutions. 

The most common thing that restricts people from using assistive services is their financial status. For example, a poor individual with a disability cannot afford assistive products. They will continue to live their lives without using them. So, the overall goal of providing these services to everyone has not been achieved yet.  We still need to identify how we can make these services accessible to everyone. Otherwise, some people with disabilities will not benefit from assistive technologies. 

Older Adults With Mental Retardation and Their Families 

Older adults with mental retardation impact the lives of those connected to them. The family members need to understand their condition and provide them with the support and care they require. 

In some situations, family members get overwhelmed by the duties they have to do for an older individual with a disability. They can maintain mental health by meditating, journaling, chanting affirmations, and more. All these are effective methods and will improve a person's mental health. 


Disability and aging are two things that have a reason to occur. It is, therefore, essential for everyone to understand both concepts deeply. It will help determine how to resolve the problems related to them. As a result, it will become easier to enhance the quality of life of individuals with disabilities.