Active Aging of elderly people with intellectual disabilities

intellectual disabilities

Active Aging of elderly people with intellectual disabilities: from the individual initiative to the collective project

On December the 3rd , the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was celebrated. This date offers the opportunity to highlight the need to break down barriers in order to create  a more inclusive society. Likewise, this celebration aims to draw attention and mobilize support in key aspects related to the inclusion of people with disabilities in society.

In year 2021 we want to focus on the elderly with intellectual disabilities who surround us, but who go unnoticed by the majority of the population. Their condition as people with disabilities linked to their age sometimes leads them to live permanently in residential complexes where in many cases they receive merely assistance care; this residential environment often infantilizes them, paternalizes them, and doesn’t let them decide for themselves.

intellectual disabilitiesFortunately, more and more initiatives are trying to cause a change in this pattern, entities that have been developing projects that use various techniques of approaching the will of the person, in order to guarantee their quality of life.

One of them is the Gil Gayarre Foundation in Madrid, which has recently accumulated several awards (only in 2020 it has already received three: ABC Solidario, La Caixa Foundation and EDP Foundation) in recognition of the quality and value of the actions that unfolds.

“Many times the future the patients desire can become a reality,” defends Mireya Gómez, head of the ‘Aging well’ program at the Gil Gayarre Foundation. This is why they have helped several of their users to make their aspirations to materialize, respecting their wishes and collaborating with them for their realization.

Gil Gayarre has been developing activities in this line for some time that have improved the quality of life of the 150 elderly people they support in their centers in Pozuelo and San Sebastián de los Reyes (Madrid). “We do individualized work with techniques that put the person at the center of their life. We aim to ensure that all decisions are based on respect for your will. To achieve this, we work with families so that they understand that, despite age and the process of deterioration, their relatives have their value and their desires, ”Gómez argues.

This is one of the organizations whose work we want to highlight this December on the occasion of this very special celebration