Future residential plans and placement preferences of 340 mothers of adult children with mental retardation living at home were examined and findings from a 3-year follow-up discussed. Four subgroups of families were compared based upon residential plans and preferences for continued home residence for the next 2 years. Significant group differences were found for background characteristics, maternal psychological well-being, and support systems. Less than 50% had made residential plans, and the majority believed their child would still be at home in 2 years. At 3-year follow-up, 22% of the families with short-term residential plans had achieved a placement compared to 14% among families without a plan who wanted a placement.

Support for this research was provided by the National Institute on Aging (Grant No. R01 AG08768), the Starr Center for Mental Retardation at Heller School, Brandeis University, and the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin. We gratefully acknowledge the valuable contributions of Barbara Larson and Dorothy Robison to the research on which this article is based. We also thank the hundreds of families who gave so generously of their time.

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