As individuals with PWS grow up into young adulthood and age into mid-life years, some continue to live with parents or other family, while others reside in group home or supported living situations. Here, we focus on data from the Global PWS Registry exploring where individuals with PWS are living, as well as family satisfaction with the current living situation.
Not surprisingly, almost all young children and adolescents with PWS are living at home with their parents or other family members. This begins to shift in young adult ages (19-24) years old when 17% of individuals with PWS are no longer living with parents or family, and continues to increase throughout adulthood. By age 40+, almost 60% of individuals with PWS are no longer living with parents or other family.
For Registry participants age 19+ who are living away from parents or other family members, there are a variety of living situations including independent private house/apartment with support, and supported group homes. Supported group homes can be small living situations with a handful of individuals, or a larger group home setting. The distribution among families opting for independent/private living situations, small (up to 4 individuals per home), or larger group home living situations of 5+ individuals is relatively comparable.
When looking specifically at those in a supported small living or larger group home situation, the split between PWS-specific vs. non PWS-specific homes is 60% vs. 40%. Importantly, approximately half were on a waitlist for their current living situation, with 30% on a waitlist for a year or longer. If your family is considering a small supported living or group home situation for your loved one with PWS in the near future, it is important to take this timeline into account.
In looking at family satisfaction with the current living situation, it is interesting to see that there isn’t much difference in satisfaction level whether the adult person with PWS (age 19+) is or isn’t living at home with parents/family. This suggests that preference of living situation is very much a personal/family decision. However, for those families opting for a supported small living or larger group home situation, families are much more satisfied with PWS-specific vs. non PWS-specific homes. It is important to note that these numbers specifically reflect family satisfaction level with the current living situation. This may be different than the satisfaction level of the person with PWS him/herself.
Finding the right living situation for an adult with PWS can take some time. There are many factors at play in this decision including personal relationships and health of all family members involved, independence level of the person with PWS, finances, insurance, what kinds of living situations are available in your geographical area, and more.
For more information on the Global PWS Registry, please visit pwsregistry.org or email the Registry here.