Transition to Retirement: The Lived Experiences of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities


Background: Adults with intellectual disabilities are living longer and experiencing retirement. However, research about retirement experiences is limited.

Method: This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews with 10 retired/retiring U.S. adults with intellectual disabilities and an ally of their choice.

Results: Participants described factors that pushed or pulled them into retirement, such as health issues or wanting to spend more time with family. Individuals in community work settings described greater self-determination in their decision to retire. Regardless of reasons for retiring, all participants described initial difficulties with adjusting to retirement but over time people's situation, including their mental and physical health, reportedly improved.

Conclusion: Retirement is a significant life transition. More attention is needed about planning and developing age-appropriate and person-cantered inclusive retirement options for older adults with intellectual disabilities, similar to the transition into adulthood and work life.

Suggested Citation

Anderson, L. L., Hall, S., Kramme, J. E. D., & Stancliffe, R. (2023). Transition to retirement: The lived experiences of adults with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities.


Peer-Reviewed Article 


  • Community life
    • Recreation and leisure
  • Specific life stage
    • Seniors
  • Specific disability
    • Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)