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Journal article

Cycles of adaptive strategies over the life course

Authors:
COOPER Margaret, BIGBY Christine
Journal article citation:
Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 57(5), 2014, pp.421-437.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

An increasing number of Australia’s ageing population are aging with long-term physical impairments. This study explored the life experiences of this group using a qualitative approach. In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 disabled Victorians, aged between 51 and 84 years, and an inductive thematic analysis undertaken. A relationship was found between the adaptive strategies that participants developed as they moved through life phases and the impairment stages. The implications of the emergence of a cyclical process of adaptation across the life course. and particularly in respect of aging, delivery of aged-care services and social workers in this sector are discussed. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

Shifting responsibilities: the patterns of formal service use by older people with intellectual disability in Victoria

Author:
BIGBY Christine
Journal article citation:
Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 23(3), September 1998, pp.229-243.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare

As adults with intellectual disability age and inevitably lose support provided by parents, many will become more reliant on formal services. Potentially they can utilise both the aged care and the disability service systems, although neither have explicit policies in relation to this group. This qualitative study in Australia examined the patterns of service use by older people with intellectual disability.

Journal article

Comparison of specialist and mainstream programs for older carers of adults with intellectual disability: considerations for service development

Authors:
BIGBY Christine, OZANNE Elizabeth
Journal article citation:
Australian Social Work, 57(3), September 2004, pp.273-287.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

Older carers of adults with intellectual disabilities experience unique challenges. Outreach initiatives identify a high number who are unknown to support services and a case is made to proactively engage them to assist in future planning for their adult children. An earlier study by the authors suggested that, in Victoria, specialist case management programmes for older carers occupied a unique place within the service system. Discusses a study that further explored the functions of specialist programs for this group through a comparison with a mainstream disability case-management program. Few differences were found, although mainstream programs did not undertake outreach and community education functions. Models that build on the capacity of mainstream case management or carer support programs to work with older carers and target outreach more effectively are discussed.

Journal article

Parental Substitutes? The role of siblings in the lives of older people with intellectual disability

Author:
BIGBY Christine
Journal article citation:
Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 29(1), 1998, pp.3-21.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

This Australian study examined the roles that siblings played in the lives of older people with intellectual disability and factors affecting this. Nearly half the sample had a sibling who acted as their primary carer after the death of the parents. However, in most cases this was not a permanent arrangement. In the long term a majority of older people did have a sibling who took responsibility for their well-being and played strong advocacy, mediator and supervisory roles. Fulfilment of such roles was associated with a lifelong close relationship between siblings.

Journal article

Confidence of group home staff in supporting the health needs of older residents with intellectual disability

Authors:
WEBBER Ruth, BOWERS Barbara, BIGBY Christine
Journal article citation:
Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 41(2), 2016, pp.107-114.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare

Background: Increased life expectancy for people with intellectual disability is accompanied by increased age-related health concerns. People ageing with intellectual disability experience more health conditions and are relocated to aged care earlier than their age peers. Method: Group home staff were surveyed about their (a) training and confidence in 11 health conditions and 7 health procedures, and (b) attitude to relocating residents with health needs to aged care. Results: Staff training in each of 10 health conditions and 7 health procedures was positively associated with increased confidence in supporting residents with those health issues. Higher staff confidence in caring for residents with 9 conditions and requiring 4 procedures was negatively associated with a likelihood of recommending that a person with those health needs should relocate to aged care. Conclusions: Targeted training of staff in age-related health issues may contribute to better health care and delay residents relocating to aged care. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

A case study about the supported participation of older men with lifelong disability at Australian community-based Men's Sheds

Authors:
GRAIG Diane, BIGBY Christine, BALANDIN Susan
Journal article citation:
Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 40(4), 2015, pp.330-341.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare

Background: This article presents an insight into the supported participation of older men with a lifelong disability in community Men's Sheds. The authors draw on a subsample of men from a 3-year study that explored how older people with a lifelong disability could be supported to transition to retirement from sheltered workshops. Method: Data arose from a range of sources – both quantitative and qualitative – and are structured here into a descriptive case study about how mentors at Men's Sheds provided support to older men (n = 9) with lifelong disability. Findings: Older men with disability want to enjoy an active retirement similar to their peers without disability. These men can join mainstream community groups such as Men's Sheds, provided they are offered just the right amount and type of support. Conclusion: Men's Sheds are largely untapped community resources where men with disability are welcome, provided that appropriate support is offered to the members of the shed. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Beset by obstacles: a review of Australian policy development to support ageing in place for people with intellectual disability

Author:
BIGBY Christine
Journal article citation:
Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 33(1), March 2008, pp.76-86.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare

Australian government policy regards people with intellectual disability (ID) as citizens with equal rights, which means that they should have access to the same opportunities as the wider community. Ageing in place is central to aged care policy in Australia for the general population. This paper reviews policy to support the provision of similar opportunities to age in place for people with ID, and the reasons for its slow development. Due to lifestyle patterns earlier in the life course, many people with ID experience a mid-life disruption to their accommodation, and may live in a group home as they age or may move prematurely to residential aged care. The absence of mechanisms to adjust disability funding as needs change, and the existence of policy that denies residents in group homes access to community-based aged care, forces disability services to “go it alone” to support ageing in place. Despite a national priority to improve the interface between the disability and aged care sectors, administrative and funding characteristics continue to obstruct the development of implementation strategies to support ageing in place for people with ID, which remain at the stage of an exploration of the issues.

Journal article

Retirement or just a change of pace: an Australian national survey of disability day services used by older people with disabilities

Authors:
BIGBY Christine, et al
Journal article citation:
Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 29(3), September 2004, pp.239-254.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare

Definitions of old age selected by researchers should reflect differences in culture and life expectancy within and between developing and developed nations. Fifty-five years was used to denote older people in both the Australian national survey and a Victorian study. Consequently, 55 years and older has been used to denote older people in this study. people with a lifelong disability are discussed. A postal survey of 596 day programmes for people with disabilities was conducted, with a response rate of 28%. Findings show that only 19% of service users were aged over 55, and the largest subgroup were people with intellectual disability. Many older people attended programs that were not age specific and a typology of the seven program types utilised was constructed. Individualised planning, flexibility and choice were perceived as fundamental to a successful program. The location of activities in the community, maintenance of social relationships, and opportunities to develop new contacts were also seen as important. Little understanding, however, of the diversity of the ageing process or notions of healthy ageing was demonstrated by service providers, many of whom had limited expectations of older people. Challenges identified in providing day support for older people were lack of financial resources, knowledge and expertise amongst staff, and difficulties interfacing with other service systems.

Journal article

Later life for adults with intellectual disability: a time of opportunity and vulnerability

Author:
BIGBY Christine
Journal article citation:
Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 22(2), June 1997, pp.97-108.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare

Old age is often regarded as a time of reduced functional capacities, decreasing community participation and narrowing horizons. Such views are sometimes reflected in the nature of programmes and services, and the more limited expectations that service providers hold about people. This article reports on the findings of a qualitative study of the later life experiences of older people (over 55 years) with intellectual disability. Conclusions are drawn about the ways in which later life opportunities can be safeguarded and vulnerabilities reduced through the development of appropriate policies and services for older people with intellectual disability.

Journal article

When parents relinquish care: informal support networks of older people with intellectual disability

Author:
BIGBY Christine
Journal article citation:
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 10(4), 1997, pp.333-344.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

Adults with intellectual disability lack the two key providers of informal support in later life, children and a spouse. Using semi-structured interviews this qualitative study examines the informal support networks of 62 older people with intellectual disability who had left parental care after mid-life. Findings indicate that, for this subgroup of older people, normative family roles such as 'protector' and 'facilitator' were fulfilled by informal network members despite the absence spouses or children.

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