A new manual co-authored by University of Sydney academics is available to help Australia’s growing population of older people with disabilities successfully move into retirement.
“People with long-term and lifelong disabilities are living longer,” said Professor Roger Stancliffe from the University’s Centre for Disability Research and Policy.
“In the late 1940s people with Down syndrome had a typical life expectancy of only 12 years, now they have an average lifespan of 60 years. With longer lives comes the need to provide the social support people with disabilities require to have an active, socially connected life in retirement,” he said.
About 11 percent of Australians working in Australian Disability Enterprises – commercial entities formerly known as sheltered workshops – are aged over 55 years and this percentage is estimated to more than treble by 2025.
Transition to Retirement: A Guide to Inclusive Practice aims to help disability service providers and mainstream community groups include people with disabilities in activities as a way of starting their transition to retirement.
The manual comes on the back of three years of research and interviews with people with disabilities, their families and members of mainstream community groups. The research was completed with the help of an ARC Linkage Grant.
“For many people with disabilities in the workforce, the option of gradually transitioning to an active retirement is not on the radar,” Professor Stancliffe said.
“A fear of the unknown, including limited exposure to socialising with members of the wider community and travelling to and from different activities, can further inhibit people with disabilities from participating in fulfilling retirement activities,” he said.
The full version of the Transition to Retirement manual and its accompanying DVD offers practical advice and case studies to help bridge the gap between mainstream community groups – such as knitting groups, community gardens and Men’s Sheds – and people with disabilities.
The book and DVD set is available from Sydney University Press: Transition to retirement: a guide to inclusive practice, Sydney University Press, Book and DVD, ISBN: 978-1-74332-327-4. Price: $25 plus postage: purl.library.usyd.edu.au/sup/9781743323274
A 15 page overview is also available for free download from the Faculty of Health Sciences website [pdf]: http://sydney.edu.au/health-sciences/cdrp/pdfs/policy-bulletin-2-retirement-2013.pdf
Professor Stancliffe wrote Transition to Retirement with Centre for Disability Research and Policy colleague Dr Nathan Wilson, along with Ms Nicolette Gambin from AFFORD, the Australian Foundation for Disability, Professor Christine Bigby from La Trobe University, and Professor Susan Balandin from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
Transition to retirement was officially launched by the Age Discrimination Commissioner, The Hon Susan Ryan AO on Thursday November 7 at the 49th Annual Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability Conference in Sydney.