Envelhecimento de pessoas com deficiência intelectual: qualidade de vida
Gimenes, Priscila Alvarenga Cardoso
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From primitive societies to present days, changes in the conceptions, ideas and paradigms that govern social participation and care for people with disabilities have been occurring. These changes, associated with the increase in the life expectancy of population in general, have culminated in an unprecedented context that is the aging of the population with intellectual disabilities. This fact indicates the need to review the actions aimed to these people throughout their lives, in order to enable them to live their old age with a better quality of life and to institute public policies and specific services aimed to the care of elderly people, with intellectual disability, and to the care of their families. With the purpose of contributing to the construction of knowledge about this phenomenon, the present study aims to identify the main characteristics of people with disabilities who reached old age and how they evaluate their quality of life. For that, an empirical and exploratory research was conducted, based on phenomenological understanding, with a qualitative approach. Data collection instruments that were used: a structured interview to survey sociodemographic and functional characteristics of elderly people with intellectual disability and of their caregivers; and semi-structured interviews with elderly people with intellectual disability who presented conditions of comprehension and verbal communication, seeking to understand the meanings of psychological, social, political and historical nature in their speeches that relate to their perception of quality of life. A total of 35 people with disabilities in the aging process and their caregivers participated in the survey responding to the questionnaire on the sociodemographic and functional aspects; of these total, 19 also participated in the semi-structured interview. With this study, it was possible to understand some aspects related to aging process of people with intellectual disabilities linked to demographic transition of population in general, to social, economic, technological and scientific transformations and to characteristics of an aging people without disabilities. Also, to present the specificities of socioeconomic profile, functionalities and aspects of quality of life of elderly people with intellectual disability in the city studied, compared to results of previously published researches. The results suggest that people with disabilities in aging process, who participated in the research, have many differences among them, constituting a considerably heterogeneous group, and although they need specific care in the area of health, education and assistance to live an active aging, they evaluate their quality of life as positive. It was also possible to verify the need for greater support for the relatives of these people.