Older People

People with intellectual disabilities are living longer. That means that like the rest of the population we have had to think carefully about how best to support individuals in this growing group.

IHC is committed to helping people remain either in their own home, or within our services, for their lifetime if that’s their choice.

IHC's Commitment

We continue to advocate for the rights of people with intellectual disability who are ageing, ensuring they and their family/whanau, have a say in important decisions in their life such as changes in care and where they live. We also make sure their spiritual, personal and cultural beliefs and choices are honoured.

We make sure our staff are knowledgeable and skilled at caring for people who are ageing and work with other organisations where necessary.

Being well prepared for retirement, old age and dying makes our final years less stressful.

IHC suggests that families consider the following ways to support people with an intellectual disability to prepare for retirement and beyond.

Kiwisaver: Enrolment in Kiwisaver at an early stage can be beneficial kiwisaver.govt.nz has information about how being enrolled in Kiwisaver can assist with homeownership, how to apply for a contribution exemption if necessary and taxation implications.

Pre-paid funerals: There are several commercial products available that encourage people to contribute regularly towards the cost of their funeral.

Planning a funeral service: The resource, Living Well – Thinking and Planning for the End of Your Life; contains a section to assist people to think about the sort of funeral they would like. This can be requested from the IHC Library.

Successful ageing: IDEA Services as a priority, supports people so they can age in their home if they want to. Talk to your local IDEA Services Area Manager to discuss options and support available for your older family member.

Making a Will: Having an intellectual disability does not prevent many people from making their own will. Support people with intellectual disabilities to think about making a will. Your local Community Law Centre or the Public Trust will be able to provide the necessary information.

Intestacy: When a person dies without making a will the rules of intestacy will apply. The law provides a code that sets out an order of priority for people to receive the deceased person's property and in what proportion. All the people are family members. Who gets what depends on which family members exist.

The basic order of priority is:

  • spouse, civil union partner or de facto partner, then:
  • children,
  • parents,
  • brothers and sisters,
  • grandparents,
  • uncles and aunts.

Documents you might find helpful

Things you might be interested in

IDEA Services

IDEA Services provides support for people with an intellectual disability so they can live, learn, work and enjoy life as part of the community.

IHC Library

Our Library is free to use to anyone living in NZ. We have information on all aspects of intellectual disability, autism and other developmental disabilities.


IHC provides advocacy support wherever there is a need to stand up for the rights of one or all people with intellectual disabilities in New Zealand.