Long-Term Intergenerational Residential Community for Disabled and Elderly Persons is Proposed

Feasibility of a long-term inter-generational residential community for disabled and elderly persons

Baker Industries explored the feasibility of an intergenerational assisted living community for disabled adults, their elderly caregiving parents and other retired adults.

In such a community, the parents would undertake the operational management of the community and the children would assume staff responsibilities, such as housekeeping and maintenance of facilities and grounds.

The community would ideally provide both employment and continuing support for the disabled residents, and would also provide an affordable retirement option for the elderly, who could receive financial credits for any assistance provided to the community's disabled residents. Parents of disabled children face the troubling question of what will happen when their children become adults and no longer have their parents as caregivers.

A recent survey of 1,000 disabled adults (National Organization on Disability, July 1998) indicated that only 29 percent of disabled Americans are employed.

High-functioning disabled adults often have needs similar to elderly persons, in that they are unable to function fully independently but function well in a supportive environment (disabilities include physical disabilities such as epilepsy and head trauma, and mental disabilities such as schizophrenia and manic depression. Many people in this population have multiple disabilities).

Under a subcontract from Baker Industries, Third Age, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in the planning and marketing of long-term care, carried out the study.

Key Results

Third Age staff:

  • Conducted phone interviews with about 10 parents of disabled young adults and professionals delivering services to the disabled population.
  • Analyzed the probable developmental process, including regulatory, financing, and marketing issues.
  • Outlined a likely model for such a community, including recommendations for a site plan, residential and community living areas, and services to be offered.
  • Proposed a developmental timetable.

The study did not address a key question, i.e., whether or not retirees who are not parents of disabled children would be interested in such a community. The question of financing is also still under consideration. Efforts to obtain funding to begin development of the community and also to form a partnership with another organization have not yet been successful.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided a grant of $7,500 from May to October 1998 to support the feasibility study.