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Aging with a Developmental Disability: Strategies for Support


Shifting Your Thinking: Age-Friendly Person-Centred Support

(A Workshop for front line workers held Wednesday February 26, 2014)

Workers from developmental services, community senior services and long term care are challenged with providing support to an increasing population of individuals aging with developmental disabilities. These individuals may live in locations supported by developmental service agencies, in their own homes/apartments or long term care homes. Individuals with a developmental disability have many similarities to the general population when they age, but they also have some unique differences. There is a need for workers from both sectors to come together, to learn, discuss and share information.

This one-day workshop focused on increasing front line worker competencies to support aging individuals with a developmental disability. In order for agencies to support individuals as they age, staff need to increase their knowledge of normal aging and how this presents in individuals with a developmental disability.

This workshop also includes health care management, aging differences from the general population, dementia best practices including the use of the Early Detection Screening Tool and problem solving techniques for health issues and behaviour challenges.

A Cross-Sector Shared Understanding of Aging:

Presenter: Sandy Stemp, Chief Operations Officer, Reena

Introduction: Setting the context

Audio MP3

Toronto Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities (TPADD)

Presenter: Joanne Meade, Manager of Resident Services, Cummer Lodge

Audio MP3

Normal Aging – What we Know and How it Impacts Individuals with a Developmental Disability

Presenter: Brenda Elias, Faculty, Non Profit and Voluntary Sector Management, Ryerson University and Social Foundations of Gerontology, Family & Community Social Services, University of Guelph-Humber

    • What is Ontario’s Aging in Place Policy?
    • Psychosocial aspects of aging

Critical importance of social networks for maintaining health and wellbeing as we age

  • Leisure, meaningful activities
  • Creating an Age-Friendly Community


Changing Assumptions, Guidelines & Tools

Presenter: Angie Gonzales, Health Care Facilitator, Toronto Network of Specialized Care

Improve your understanding of health concerns and aging differences in developmental disabilities, and best practices related to community-based dementia care for individuals with developmental disabilities


Dementia: Changing Assumptions

Presenter: Kari Quinn-Humphrey, Public Education Manager, Alzheimer Society of Toronto

Improve your understanding of dementia & Alzheimer’s disease, best practices and the resources available for supporting individuals with developmental disabilities exhibiting dementia.


Palliative Pain and Symptom Management

Presenter: Tracey Human, RN, Palliative Pain Symptom Management Consultation Service for Toronto

Considerations for intellectual and physical disability communities of practice – palliative care, hospice, collaborative care planning.



Is Your House in Order? Thinking Strategically About Aging With a Developmental Disability

(A Follow up session of the 2013 Are We Prepared workshops)

The Compelling Data on Aging in Residential Services

Presenter: Sandy Stemp, Chief Operations Officer, Reena

The historical context and current trends of aging for individuals who have a developmental disability


Opinions of Parents from the Developmental Services Council

Presenter: Ruth Halperin, Chair of the Aging and Life Long Supports Work Group of the DS Council, Developmental Services Toronto

Ruth presents a summary of concerns, opinions and hopes from parents whose children with developmental disabilities are aging.

Audio MP3

Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Perspective

Presenter: Jennifer Scott, Director Client Services LTC Placement at Central Community Care Access Centre

An overview of the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and their place in the Ontario Health System


Associated links:

Developmental Disabilities and Aging: Issues and Perspectives of the DS Service Providers

Presenter: Sandy Stemp, Chief Operations Officer, Reena

Focus on the perspective of one agency – Reena, the Toronto Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities (TPADD) and Developmental Services Toronto (DSTO)


An Emerging Practice: The Mary Centre Strategy in Peel Region

Presenter: Terry Elliott, Program Director, Mary Centre Peel

Mary Centre’s Transition into Long Term Care Program provides support to individual’s 50 and older with a developmental challenge. These Individuals are either residing in or preparing to move into a long-term care facility. Mary Centre staff provides a seamless transition between home life and long term care.


Early Detection Screen for Dementia

The purpose of the National Task Group-Early Detection Screen for Dementia is to offer family and professional caregivers a resource to record their observations regarding changes in areas of cognitive and adaptive functioning known to be associated with dementia. Parent caregivers, who will opt to use the NTG-EDSD, should know that this is not an instrument for the diagnosis of dementia. The intent is that caregivers will use the information captured on the NTG-EDSD to begin a dialogue with health care practitioners and that it will serve as an aid to shared decision-making.

Early Detection Screen For Dementia

Developmental Disabilities, Aging, Supports & Resources

Angela Gonzales and Lindsay Wingham-Smith discuss ways to improve collaborative care planning to support people with issues related to aging with a Developmental disability

Supporting People with IDD as they Age

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are living longer than ever before. This is wonderful news! But, for many people, living longer (aging) comes with some unique challenges. Read more


Through the MCCSS Innovations Grant, a series of one-day conferences were funded to help develop the linkages and partnerships between Developmental Services and Seniors Services. The following presentations were recorded on Monday March 18, 2013 in Toronto.

Intellectual/Developmental Disability and Dementia; Assessment and Healthcare Practices

Seth M. Keller, MD
The presentation will provide an overview on aspects of aging in adults with Intellectual/Developmental Disability and how a serial assessment of early change in function and cognition can be completed by families and support staff. The diagnosis and recommendations of healthcare practices will be discussed. The progression of dementia with its associated health care complications and concerns and recommendations for care will be reviewed.


Associated Links

Practice Guidelines

Nancy Jokinen, MSW, PHD
This presentation introduces a set of practice guidelines adopted by the Nastional Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices (NTG) to assist families and organizations plan for services and core management strategies in their support of adults with intellectual disabilities affected by dementia. The guidelines delineate actions that can be undertaken from a pre-diagnosis period when symptoms of functional and cognitive decline are suspected through early, mid and late stages of dementia.

Guidelines for Structuring Community Care and Supports for People With ID Affected by Dementia


Associated links

Report on a Series of Four Workshops

A summary of the feedback received from the afternoon discussion activities for each of the four communities where a session was held.

Aging and Developmental Disabilities Report on Workshops March 2013

For more information on the report or the appendices mentioned in the report contact Sandy Stemp