Growing older is difficult, but what about those who are aging with a disability? The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Family and Community Health unit’s Texas Military Program will address the similarities and differences in that experience.
“Aging with Disabilities” will be held from 10-11 a.m. March 25. The program is free and open to the public. Attendees must first RSVP in advance and then check email for instructions to join the session.
“Like all Americans, persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities are living longer, better; but what does aging with a disability look like?” said Rachel Brauner, AgriLife Extension program specialist in Bryan-College Station. “In this session, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between aging into and aging with a disability.”
Leading the aging discussion
Aging and disability are both dynamic processes that depend heavily on the resources, support and services that the individual is able to access, said Andrew Crocker, AgriLife Extension senior gerontology and health program specialist, Amarillo. The goal for both processes is to find balance for optimal function.
“Adults with a disability may be better prepared to achieve that balance than an adult aging into disability,” said Crocker, who will be the webinar presenter. “For instance, an adult who has managed a life-long disability may have already considered housing adaptations, transportation needs, care choices, etc., as opposed to the adult aging into disability who is more likely to be responding to crisis.”
Conversely, he said, some “on time” events associated with aging – like retirement – may impact adults aging with disability in unanticipated ways.
Crocker’s program focus is the health and well-being of older adults. His main role is to support the AgriLife Extension family and community health agents in their efforts to educate older adults, caregivers and the professionals who serve them.
Since joining AgriLife Extension in 2003, Crocker has worked to develop resources to help older adults improve their health literacy through communication with their health provider and better medication management; navigating the internet and accessing reliable health information; and providing information and referral to grandparents rearing their grandchildren.
Caregivers, continuing education
Brauner said the webinar discussion will also include the role of caregivers and family supports as the person with disability grows older.
This webinar will also offer continuing education credits for social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, case managers and board-certified patient advocates.