Disconnected expectations: Staff, family, and supported employee perspectives about retirement Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Australia has few policies to support the transition of older people with intellectual disability from employment to retirement. This study aimed to identify the possibilities and barriers to retirement for older employees in supported employment services. METHOD: Five distinct participant groups discussed retirement in 6 separate focus group interviews: staff from disability accommodation (7) and employment services (7), members of mainstream activity programs for older people (4), family members (5), and supported employees (2 groups of 6 people). RESULTS: Participants perceived retirement as a risk to the well-being and participation of employees. Participants were pessimistic about the availability of necessary support in retirement. The need for additional resources and skills was identified, but the utility of inclusion strategies was not recognised. Continued segregation through specialist programs or adaptation of existing employment programs was the most commonly suggested retirement option by staff and family members. CONCLUSION: Perceptions did not reflect the current policy imperatives of social participation. This poses an additional obstacle to conceptualising, planning, and supporting quality of life for older people with intellectual disability.

publication date

  • September 2011