With advances in medical care, technology, and rehabilitation, people with disabilities are now living longer. Many, in fact, have near-average life expectancies. Research has shown, however, that the changes and problems associated with aging often occur 10–20 years earlier in the lives of people with disabilities than in the lives of people without disabilities. These changes pose significant challenges for health care professionals. Because research in this field is relatively recent, few practitioners and students are aware of these findings.
Aging with a Disability provides clinicians with a complete guide to the care and treatment of persons aging with a disability. Divided into five parts, this book first addresses the perspective of the person with a disability and his or her family. Chapters in the second section address the physiological and functional changes people will face as they grow older, and how these changes may affect quality of life and caregiver requirements. In the third part, contributors discuss treatment considerations such as maintaining employment and managing pain and fatigue. The book's fourth section focuses on specific conditions: spinal cord injury, polio, cerebral palsy, and developmental disabilities such as mental retardation. In the concluding section, the authors present research needs and discuss policy issues for future consideration. Paying special attention to the feelings, attitudes, and needs of people with disabilities—three chapters are written by authors who have a disability—Aging with a Disability gives students and clinicians a reliable and compassionate handbook for the treatment of this growing population.
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