Aging with a Disability

Questions to Consider

Charting the Life Course is a tool, developed by the Supporting Families Community of Practice and the University of Missouri Kansas City, to assist you in creating a vision for the future. It is designed to help families think about the questions to ask as you “plot a course” to a full and meaningful life for a family member with a disability.  Individuals and families can focus on their current stage of life, but families may also find it useful to look towards the future to start thinking about what they can do or learn now that will help build an inclusive, productive life.

The Supporting Families Community of Practice believes that this "life course approach" helps families realize that even when children are young and as they grow into adulthood, their experiences and environment can shape how they will live their life in the future.

aging individual with a developmental disability sitting outside on a porch with a cup of coffee and smilingHere's just a few questions that the "Life Course approach" encourages families to consider, if they have an aging family member with a disability.

  1. What supports do I need to continue living as independently as possible in my own home and community as I age? How can technology assist me to live as independently as possible?
  2. If I’m still living at home with my parents, what will happen when my parents die – where will I live, and with whom? 
  3. Have you left a “road map” on how to best support me when you are no longer able?
  4. Are there “senior citizen” resources in my community (senior center, transportation, Meals on Wheels, etc.)?
  5. Can I go to a nearby senior center for social activities? 
  6. Do I have age appropriate friends (same age friends) that share similar interests?
  7. Are my extended family members and other supporters knowledgeable about the things that are important to me?
  8. Who will emotionally support me when a close family member or friend passes away?
  9. Who else understands my medical needs and is available if I need help communicating those needs to others?
  10. Who will help me create a will and make my wishes known for medical directives?

For a full list of questions families can consider for this stage of life, download the Charting the Life Course booklet and other resources at http://www.lifecoursetools.com/.

The questions in Charting the Life Course are written to reflect a “first person” perspective across the lifespan to represent the viewpoint of the person with a disability and the on-going transformation to an adult who is self-determined, autonomous and independent.