Get access

Family Quality of Life and Older Families


Nancy S. Jokinen, 216 S. Kenogami Avenue, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, P7B 4S3. Tel: +1 807 767 4640; Fax: +1 807 767 4640; E-mail:


Abstract  This paper highlights the circumstances of older families of adults with an intellectual disability (ID) using scenarios drawn from current research, the practice literature pertaining to older families, and basic tenets of family quality of life as a field of study. Specific issues discussed include the propensity in the literature to emphasize negative aspects of prolonged coresidence of older parents and adults with an ID; evidence-based practice often dominated by a focus on future planning, particularly in regard to transitions from home, financial issues, and guardianship; and little research or practice identifying a planning process that considers the older family as a whole, taking into account and addressing the needs and concerns of all family members affected by ageing circumstances. Additionally, scant literature on the involvement of family in the lives of middle-aged and older adults already living in residential services is available to guide practice to successfully maintain family involvement under these circumstances. The author concludes that there is a need to expand evidence-based practice beyond work with older parents cohabiting with a son or daughter with an ID and future planning, and that a family quality of life approach has the potential to identify proactive strategies that strengthen family relations and actively engage older families in the development of policy and practice.