Transition to Retirement: A Guide to Inclusive Practice: Adaptations for the Current U.S. Context

Chapter 1: Disability, Aging and Transition to Retirement

Chapter 1 briefly outlines issues concerning disability and aging, such as increased life expectancy of individuals with IDD. This positive outcome means many people will need to consider life in retirement. The chapter sets out the main components of the TTR program.

The chapter also explains why the TTR program focuses on mainstream community groups.

Adaptations for the Current U.S. Context

Some key features of the TTR program are described in Chapter 1:

“To allow a stable routine to be set up, we chose community groups that met at least weekly, at the same time and in the same place throughout the year. By supporting one person to join each group, the community group was not overwhelmed with large numbers of people with long-term disability.” (pp. 7-8, emphasis added).

Below, we suggest some changes to these requirements when implementing the TTR approach in the U.S. today. Specifically, when discussing changes relevant to Chapter 3, we propose that these criteria can be relaxed when appropriate, by considering community groups that are seasonal and do not meet year-round. The additional support needs required to rejoin a seasonal community group are set out in our proposed adaptations related to Chapter 8.

In relation to Chapter 5, in the section headed Companions for Socially Inclusive Community Activities we propose that TTR participants could, if they wish, go to their community group with a companion, such as a good friend. To help plan for this possibility, we propose a series of additional issues related to companions for discussion at the TTR planning meeting (see Appendix B Forms section).

Chapter 1 also notes that many older workers with IDD have limited experience of inclusive community life (see TTR Manual, p. 10), partly because throughout their life, they likely experienced segregated education and disability services, such as sheltered employment. Disappointingly, recent research has also shown that very few older Australian workers with intellectual disability (ID) working in/retired from mainstream employment independently participated in a mainstream community group (Brotherton et al., 2020; 2023). Despite years of inclusive employment, these workers may also have little awareness of inclusive social opportunities available in their community.

The TTR video stories (see section on the Transition to Retirement DVD) about individual TTR participants each illustrate joining a particular community group or volunteering opportunity. Exposing people with IDD to these video clips provides one way of helping people to be more aware of the range of opportunities that may be available to them.