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A phenomenological study of the work experiences of aging adults with intellectual disabilities and their perceptions of retirement Nakamura, Jean Elizabeth


With the deinstitutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities, they are not only living and working in their communities, they are living longer and reaching retirement age. It is now understood and accepted that old age is a distinct stage of life experienced by people with intellectual disabilities. To understand the needs of this population as they retire, this study examined the work experiences of five older adults with intellectual disabilities and their perceptions of life without work (retirement). The purpose of the study was to gain an understanding of the role and meaning of work in their lives, and their vision of the future. Five participants over the age of fifty were interviewed using a phenomenological methodology. This research method allowed the participants to speak directly of their experience and made no a priori assumptions about those experiences. The findings of the study concluded that work played a very important role in the lives of the five participants and indicated they had no desire to give up work completely should they reach retirement age. It was anticipated the insight gained from this study would assist in providing valuable information needed to develop services and programs to meet the needs of this growing population.

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