Down syndrome is a congenital genetic aberration resulting in developmental, anatomical and physiological abnormalities. There are an estimated 400,000 people in the United States with Down syndrome. Approximately 41,000 of those live in Kentucky.
As of 1983, the average lifespan of a person with Down syndrome was 25 years. Today, the average life expectancy is approximately 60 years. The dramatic increase is due not to the miracles of modern medicine, but to ending the inhumane practice of institutionalization in deference to home and community care. The concession is that people with Down syndrome age earlier than most. Many are being cared for by aging families.