As Aging Parents Downsize, Adults With I/DD Transition

Growing older comes with a lot of questions about where to live, how to budget your savings, and how to maintain independence as you age. But for the parents of adult children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), aging brings much bigger worries. Who will take care of your child when you’re no longer able to, and how can you provide for their future after you’re gone?


It’s a scary question when you’ve been your child’s primary caregiver their entire life. However, it’s important to think about the answer sooner rather than later. By transitioning now, you can support your child as they acclimate to community living and make sure they receive the best care possible. To help you along the way, DOC Real Estate presents the following advice.

Living options for adults with I/DD

Parents fear that after they’re gone, their child will grow socially isolated and won’t receive the quality of care they deserve. Don’t let these worries stop you from planning ahead. By taking the initiative now to prepare for your child’s future care, you can rest assured knowing their social, emotional, and financial needs are met.


If you’re downsizing and moving out of the family home into a smaller property, be sure to take care of the necessary items when your house sells and you move into your new one. This includes changing out the locks in your new place. Finding a quality and reputable locksmith is easier than ever. Simply do an online search for area locksmiths, and be sure to read ratings and customer reviews to narrow down your choice.

How to pay for community living

Adults with I/DD may receive financial assistance through Supplemental Security Insurance and Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers. Family members can supplement these benefits without losing them by setting up a special needs trust.


Life insurance is a common way to fund a special needs trust. However, relying on life insurance means the assets won’t be available until after your death.


If you don’t want to wait to transition your adult child to community living, consider funding a special needs trust with real estate. Depending on local housing prices, selling the family home could generate enough proceeds to fund a special needs trust and make a down payment on a new, downsized home for retirement. Just be sure you take into account how much you can easily afford in a new home covering the costs of your adult child’s care.

Making the transition to community living

Selling real estate helps families with I/DD afford high-quality community living, but it also adds to the logistical challenges. Not only do you need to deal with the financial, legal, and emotional aspects of your child’s move, you also need to sell a home and decide where to live yourself.


More than ever, this is a time to seek the support of professionals. Recruiting professionals to provide hands-on moving assistance frees up your time, patience, and compassion for your family’s needs.


Help may come from:


  • Aging Life Care Professionals: Also known as geriatric care managers, Aging Life Care Professionals coach families through ongoing health challenges. An Aging Life Care Manager helps you build a plan of care for optimal quality of life.
  • Senior Real Estate Specialists: Senior Real Estate Specialists are Realtors with extensive training in the housing needs of older adults including the financial and legal aspects of real estate transactions.
  • Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists: Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists are builders, architects, and designers with expertise in home modifications that allow older adults and people with disabilities to live safely at home.
  • Occupational Therapists: Like CAPS, occupational therapists promote safety and independence at home. An occupational therapist identifies barriers to daily routines and solutions for making everyday tasks easier.
  • Senior Move Managers: Moving is a tedious task. Senior Move Managers provide moving coordination services to older adults including organizing, downsizing, packing and unpacking, and overseeing movers.


While the professionals handle the heavy lifting, spend time writing a letter of intent. A letter of intent communicates your adult child’s support needs, preferences, personal history, and other information that support staff should know. The Arc has a free letter of intent template families can use.


Don’t wait to think about where your loved one with I/DD will live after you’re gone. When you start the transition to community living now, your child can harness the opportunities ahead under your watchful eye.


Ready to take that next step in your life? DOC Real Estate can help you find the home you’ve been searching for. Call us today at (317) 888-7333.