|Many people with intellectual disabilities get support
from their parents.
When these parents get older,
they find it hard to care for their adult son or daughter with disability.
Unapei is an organisation that helps people with intellectual disabilities
and their families in France.
Unapei says that the government needs to give more support
to older persons with intellectual disabilities and their families
Unapei has criticised government inaction when responding to the challenges faced by more than 30,000 families in France who have ageing adult children with intellectual disabilities.
UNAPEI highlighted the case of a 70-year of man who killed his autistic son of forty years and then attempted to commit suicide. The incident happened last week in Poissy in France. He had been the only person looking after his son for several months previous to this incident. UNAPEI noted how such events highlighted the need for support structures to help parents once their child with intellectual disability reached adulthood.
In response to this incident, Christel Prado, president of Unapei, noted: “We often hear about the suffering of parents and like this father, in a lot of cases, there is a lack of resources. France doesn’t know the number of persons with intellectual disabilities and therefore is unable to respond to the needs of families.”
Unapei further questions how many tragic incidents must occur before the government responds to the difficulties of ageing for persons with disabilities.
Parents worry about the future of their “children” when they are no longer there or in a position to help them. Sometimes, brothers and sisters of persons with disabilities can question their responsibilities when their parents pass away. Additionally, persons with disabilities can have fears about ageing, questioning who will take care of them after their parents are no longer there to support them.
In 2009, Unapei noted that 15,000 persons with intellectual disabilities over the age of 45 were facing problems such as lack of accommodation or support. In 2014, the figure is expected to grow to 30,000. The situation of ageing persons with intellectual disabilities and their families thus requires immediate and full attention of public authorities.