Tag Archives: siblings of people with disabilities

Caring For a Sibling with Mental Illness

Posted on by wisibs

You’ve heard me say it over and over…siblings have the longest and one of the most significant bonds in the life of a person with disabilities. That’s why staff, volunteers, and participants with WisconSibs have such passion to support siblings from childhood through adulthood and why we CELEBRATE the unique role of siblings, especially sisters (by the way Celebrate Sisterhood will be October 30, 2018).

That passion inspires us to not only recognize the millions of siblings of people with developmental disabilities, but also people with emotional and mental health concerns.   An estimated 8.4 million Americans are caregivers to adult loved ones with a mental illness, most often a son or daughter, parent, spouse or sibling.

Sisters bond - mental health

Jean Moore (left) shares a laugh with her sister, Ruby Wilson, in front of the assisted living facility where Wilson lives on Oct. 12, 2017, in Clinton, N.C. (Andrew Craft for Kaiser Health News)

Recently, the Kaiser Health News published a wonderful story about two sisters, Jean and Ruby and their bond as sisters, one with paranoid schizophrenia.

The girls grew up very close, almost like twins. “They used to say our name as JeannieandRuby. It was like one person.”  But as they became teenagers, Rudy’s mental health changed and their lives began to diverge. As they became adults, Jean became a caregiver and an even closer sister.  READ STORY

WisconSibs offers Sibshops to children ages 8-14 who are growing up with brothers or sisters with emotional or mental health concerns.  Each session is held in a relaxed setting with games, snacks, and discussion about the concerns and the joys of growing up with their sibling.  Held at the Catalpa Day Treatment Center in Appleton, siblings can join in any time during the series from January through May, 2018.  For more information.

Download Catalpa Series Sibshop flyer Jan-May 2018

“Caregiving situations for siblings pack an extra emotional punch for the caregiver,” said John Schall, who runs the Caregiver Action Network, a nonprofit organization that supports people providing care to loved ones. “It’s not unusual for us to think at some point of being the caregiver for our elderly parents, but it’s a whole different thing to be a caregiver for a sibling who we always thought of as equals.”

JOIN US for a Community Dialogue on Family Caregivers – Monday, January 29, 2018 at the WisconSibs office, 211 E Franklin St., Appleton, WI – MORE INFORMATION