Serving the Underserved: Caring for People Who Are Both Old and Mentally Retarded: A Handbook for Caregivers

By Mary C. Howell; Deirdre G. Gavin et al. | Go to book overview

As we can see from these approximations, there has been a general increase in interest in our services, and an increase in clients both seen by the Team and referred to the Team. These numbers are only meant to give an impression of the burgeoning demand for services for people who are both mentally retarded and old. We hope these services can continue.


10
THE STRUCTURE OF THIS BOOK

Mary C. Howell

For three years, the staff of the Kennedy Aging Project worked with people who are both mentally retarded and old. This direct, face-to- face understanding is what we want to convey in this volume. Sharing our accumulated experience is a way for us to pass on what we learned so it can be preserved, commented on, challenged, and added to by others whose work is similar.

This Handbook, like the work of the Project, begins with the contributions of individuals who represent separate disciplines. Each of these (Chapters 11 through 21) presents a way of working that evolved from direct clinical contact with clients who are both mentally retarded and old. The approaches vary. The lawyers, for instance, search for specific problems. The pastoral counselor elicits a spiritual history in order to create a portrait of the client's experience of the sacred. The leisure specialist, by contrast, assumes that some improvement in the client's opportunities to make use of leisure time and energy is inevitably to be discovered by probing the present utilization of resources.

These chapters on disciplinary assessment are written to be understood and used by everyone who works with this group of clients.

-42-

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