Bereavement in Patients with Dual Diagnosis Mental Illness and Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities

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People with developmental disabilities live longer than in years past, experience fuller relationships, and consequently are more affected by death and separation from family members and friends than in times past. The average life expectancy for individuals with mental retardation in the 1920s was nine years of age. By the 1990s it had increased to 50 to 60 years. Indeed, today the life expectancy of a person with mental retardation approaches that of the general population (except for persons with multiple disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, or severe cognitive impairment).