Aging with Developmental Disability: The Issue

As a result of progress achieved in medical science and health care, Canadians with developmental disabilities now have a life expectancy that extends beyond mid-life. Improvements in their health and life expectancy have coincided with a dramatic shift in public and professional attitudes toward them and in approaches to service delivery.

Once regarded as patients who were entirely dependent upon custodial care provided in large institutional settings and who had few, if any choices or rights, persons with developmental disabilities are now considered full citizens entitled to receive a range of services of their choosing to maintain their quality of life enjoy full inclusion in society. Despite these positive trends, older adults with a developmental disability are still an under-served and marginalized group.

Seniors on the margins: Aging with a developmental disability describes the National Advisory Council on Aging’s position on the situation of Canadians who are aging with a developmental disability. It identifies a number of gaps and challenges with respect to the unmet health care, social and financial problems that impact on their capacity to age well and provides recommendations for action in each of these areas


Seniors on the margins: Aging with a Developmental Disability – National Advisory Council on Aging. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada 2004

Transition Guide for Caregivers (2005) Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities

Guide to Personal Care and Property. (2008) Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities (2014) Aging with a Developmental Disability: Strategies for Support.