Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Martha Keniston Laurence

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Due to the policy of deinstitutionalization there is a population of adults with a developmental disability who are aging in the community and who are living with their aging parents as caregivers. This study used a phenomenological, qualitative approach to gain an in-depth understanding of the experiences of these aging family caregivers of aging adults with a developmental disability. A literature review indicated that some sources of support and service needs have been identified for this population of caregivers, and that planning for the future of their adult child with a developmental disability was important to these caregivers. Six caregivers, all of whom were mothers, were interviewed and asked to describe their experiences as caregivers and to identify any recent changes or any concerns that they might have for the future. Several themes emerged as important to the caregivers including: the importance of routines for both mother and adult child, faith, issues of service use, importance of family relationships and planning for and facing the future. Generally speaking, mothers identified a need for more respite and more recreational activities for their adult child but felt that they were coping well in their role as caregiver. Most mothers stated that they did not worry about the future but they made plans whenever possible. many questions about caregiving issues for adults with a developmental disability who are aging remain.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season