Do you know someone with IDD who wants to stay active in their community in retirement? 

About the study

The Institute on Community Integration’s Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota is conducting a research study on the Transition to Retirement program. In this program, older adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) participate in a retirement planning process and join a mainstream group of their choice in the community. They get support from an ally (friend, family member, direct support professional, or other person) throughout the program, and the ally will receive training from researchers. The goal is to help older adults with disabilities move from paid work to community retirement activities that they enjoy. For this study, the person with disabilities may:

  • be fully retired and want to participate in a community group, or
  • want to reduce some work hours so that they can participate in a community group, or
  • want to join a community group first before deciding if they want to reduce their work hours.

Who is eligible

Adults with IDD who are 45 or older who work in paid employment or have left paid employment are eligible. Each adult with IDD will choose an ally (friend, family member, direct support professional, or other person) who will support them in the Transition to Retirement process. The ally will receive training from researchers.

What will you do?

Note that this modified program is based on the Transition to Retirement program that was conducted with promising results with older adults with IDD in Australia. 

View short videos about Judy, Laurie, and Graham who participated in Transition to Retirement. 

Plan

  • Each person with IDD and their ally will participate in a planning meeting where they identify what they enjoy doing and types of community groups they might like to join. Existing community groups will be explored to identify a group that fits the interests and availability of the person with IDD.
  • Additional steps, such as visiting community groups, adjusting work schedules, support hours, or transportation resources may be identified in planning. Training and support will be provided to accommodate these needs. 

Participate

  • The person with IDD will choose a social or volunteer group in the community and attend once each week for about 17 weeks, although they will be encouraged to attend the group beyond that time as well.
  • The ally will receive training to support the person to join the group, plan how to get there, and join in the activities each week. The ally may also help identify people in the group who can provide natural supports, as needed. 

Evaluate

  • The person with IDD will answer some questions about themselves and how they feel about their life at the beginning and end of the study. We will also ask them to join in a meeting to give feedback about the study at the end.
  • The ally will keep a simple weekly log to track the adult’s participation in the community group. If the person requests, the ally may help the adult answer questions about themselves and how they feel about their life at the beginning and end of the study and provide feedback about the study at the end.

What are the benefits of being in the study?

  • The person with IDD will benefit by joining a group in the community, taking part in activities at the group that they enjoy, and meeting new people in the community.
  • The ally will learn about groups in the community, support the adult to participate in an activity they enjoy, and meet new people in the community. The ally will gain knowledge and skills to support people with IDD in the community. They will receive a free copy of the Transition to Retirement implementation manual and videos.
  • This study will help others understand how to support people with disabilities in retirement. You may feel good to know you are helping others learn.
  • Participants with IDD and their ally who join in a feedback meeting at the end of the study will each get a $50 gift card.

What are the risks of being in the study?

Going to the community group will take up some of your time. Talking about retirement may feel uncomfortable or it may lead to thinking about things that make you sad. Some people may feel nervous about choosing the right group, changing their schedule, meeting new people, or learning new activities in the group. The ally and researchers will help the person know what to do and can make introductions to new people, if needed.

If you’d like to take part:

Please contact Julie Bershadsky at bers0017@umn.edu or Sarah Hall at hall1964@umn.edu or 612-624-4847 at the University of Minnesota.

Resources

  • Bigby, C., Wilson, N. J., Stancliffe, R. J., Balandin, S., Craig, D., & Gambin, N. (2014). An effective program design to support older workers with intellectual disability to participate individually in community groups. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 11(2), 117–127. https://doi.org/10.1111/jppi.12080

  • Stancliffe, R. J., Bigby, C., Balandin, S., Wilson, N. J., & Craig, D. (2014). Transition to retirement and participation in mainstream community groups using active mentoring: A feasibility and outcomes evaluation with a matched comparison group. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59(8), 703–718. https://doi.org/10.1111/jir.12174

  • Stancliffe, R. J., Wilson, N. J., Gambin, N., Bigby, C., & Balandin, S. (2013). Transition to Retirement: A guide to inclusive practice. Sydney University Press.