Subtitle: Being autistic and getting old is the pits…
I ran across the attached article a few days ago and it resonated with me profoundly.
I’m old, in my third trimester of life at the age of 64, I suffer depression daily, and my physical health has diminished as well due to a comorbid autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome.
It’s hard for me to pinpoint which is worse, the lack of realtime friends and family or the daily struggles dealing with a chronic disease.
It’s also hard for me to figure out whether or not the depression is caused by either of those ancillary aspects or whether or not the depression fuels the physical symptoms and the inability to socialize.
In the end it doesn’t matter. It is what it is and I have to deal with it.
I used to relish spending a few hours every night connecting with others on the various Facebook groups related to autism but lately I haven’t had the physical nor the mental energy to do so.
When I was active either posting or commenting on others’ posts I felt engaged and I did not feel alone nor that terrible abstract feeling of loneliness.
But my physical health has been rather poor for the past few months due to a severe Sjogen’s Syndrome flare-up then followed by a chronic bout of pneumonia; I’m still getting over that one.
Most research is geared towards helping young autistics make it as adults in a foreign world. Immense progress has been accomplished in a very short timespan which enables those individuals to learn how to be self-sufficient and participate in a world that still views autistics as broken.
We have job training programs and large corporations realizing the value that many autistics bring to an enterprise with their gifts of seeing the minutest details and their capacity to do routine and mundane job functions better than non-autistics.
But what’s in store for their future when they arrive at my age, still carrying the baggage of being socially inept, and many without their own families which includes having their own children?
That’s the real puzzle that still needs to be solved and it appears that some researchers are realizing the gap in that support structure.
To be continued…
Spectrum Article: Adults with autism face old age without much support