Our autistic adults are at high risk for homelessness and increased risk for incarceration directly due to misunderstandings about autism behaviors.
Our seniors are at high risk for isolation, boredom, loneliness and depression. Many of these people were socially active their entire lives but find themselves alone and bored. We see our retirees as the “Opportunity Generation” because they have so many skills and so much life experience and finally have the choice in how they spend their time.
Did you know that the number of people in the US will double between 2015 and 2035?
Did you know that relationships are the most significant factor in good health as we age?
Many people enjoy a life with purpose. Opportunities to help one another right outside our doors could completely change how healthy our retiree community members age.
What kind of support do our autistic adults need? Our autistic adults need communities where we understand autism but also understand the autism of each of our community members.
Here is a true story. Tim was a 28 year old autistic young man who had a job and had been living in his own apartment for three years when he was arrested for cutting the cords on the vacuum cleaners in his building for the second time.
For the people who know anything about autism they would know that sensory sensitivities are common, meaning what is normal for others is painful for someone with autism. Understanding autism would also explain why Tim is unable to self advocate for a resolution.
What if Tim’s neighbors understood his autism? What if the manager of the apartment understood Tim’s autism? Maybe the vacuuming could have been done when Tim was at work. Maybe they could warn Tim and have him wear noise cancelling headphones.
Tim was evicted. If not for his parents Tim would be homeless. Parents don’t live forever.
Understanding autism and advocating in straightforward ways will support successful living in community for our autistic adults.
Our older Americans need new social support. Too many don’t have a friend or family to give them a ride to the dentist or doctor and look in on them afterward. We need to fertilize new friendships for new lives.