Impact feature issue on Retirement & Aging for People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities

From the Editors

A man with white hair and a beard wearing a gray suit and glasses looks directly ahead with a slight grin.

Cliff Poetz in the Minnesota State Capitol building.

This issue of Impact, dedicated to our friend and colleague Cliff Poetz, explores healthy aging and retirement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Poetz, a nationally recognized disability rights activist, modeled healthy aging and advocated end-of-life planning right up until his own death earlier this year.

We explore what retirement means for workers with IDD. Like workers without life-long disabilities, they have concerns about maintaining purpose and independence in retirement. People with disabilities share their personal stories of getting older, along with family members who are grappling with transition planning. Welcoming voices from the mainstream retirement world, we are pleased to include Chris Farrell of American Public Media (and PBS Next Avenue) as one of our issue editors, and Paul Irving, chairman of the Center for the Future of Aging, as an author. In a joint article, Irving and co-author Michelle Putnam urge the aging and disability communities to break down their silos.

Finally, our thanks to several people who let us photograph them to illustrate healthy aging, including Judy Bushnell and Annette Rot, featured on our cover.

Through Udac, a Duluth, Minnesota organization promoting inclusive retirement and competitive employment, we met seniors with and without disabilities playing games together, retirees chatting in a busy coffee shop, older workers heading to competitive jobs, and volunteer bell ringers. In short, we met adults living their best lives as they grow older. Cliff, who took great pride in living independently, would be pleased.