The Kooper Family: Caring for a Sibling with Special Needs
People with disabilities are living longer than ever before, outliving their parents. Over 65% of adults with mental illness and 80% of adults with developmental disabilities live with their parents, most of who are in their 60s, 70s and 80s.
When a child is born with special needs it’s usually the parents that bear the responsibility for that child. But what happens when the parents are no longer living or able to take care of their child? Is it then the siblings’ responsibility? Are they available, willing and able?
Our show takes a look into the lives of the Kooper Family. Rebecca Kooper is a loving and caring sister to her brother, Billy. For a time she not only had to see to her brother’s needs but also the needs of her father, Max who had Alzheimer’s. Rebecca became Billy’s guardian after the death of her parents.
Not only do we meet Rebecca Kooper, we also have the input of Aaron Liebowitz, the Executive Director of Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities (ACLD) and one of my law firm’s partners, Frank L. Buquicchio who will share their insights about the services available for adults with special needs as well as the specifics involved in special needs planning.
In my special needs law practice, we meet with many families who plan for the future but unfortunately many more deal with these issues in crisis. It all starts with family and the relationships that are created from birth. When the parents pass away or are in failing health, the siblings or one of them will be asked to step up to the plate.
This is the time when the siblings are truly tested. I have seen the love and dedication of siblings for their brother or sister with special needs, helping their brother or sister live with dignity.
It truly takes a village to navigate life in every family. There are personal, financial and legal issues that all need to be dealt with.
FAMILY truly does Come First.
The mission of ACLD is to support the pursuit of an enviable life for people with developmental disabilities.