Developing family support for the future begins with family traditions and teaching responsibility within a family. All children in the family learn the importance of a strong family support system. They learn responsibilities to help the household run smoothly and a commitment to address needs within the family. These instilled values and responsibilities carry over into adulthood.
Adult siblings may share living accommodations, but siblings do not have to live together to provide family support in this area. Siblings may coordinate or monitor other arrangements for the sibling with special needs, such as a group home in the community. Siblings may hire a part-or full-time independent care aide to assist the sibling with a disability in her own apartment or house.
Even if adult siblings are separated geographically, cell phones and computers allow them to keep in touch with minimal cost. Pay-as-you-go-type cell phones are reasonably priced alternatives to a lengthy cell phone plan. For some adults with disabilities, the pay-as-you-go phones are a quick solution to communication and safety needs. And purchasing a computer is not necessary to keep in touch by e-mail. Computers are often available for use in group homes as well as in public libraries.
In some families, there is an understood financial responsibility between siblings. In the case of an adult sibling with a disability, another sibling might help out with basic living expenses (food, rent, and clothing). Or, perhaps the basic expenses are covered by SSI or a job. Then the sibling might help with some of the “extras” like an occasional night out to eat, movie rental, or inclusion on a family vacation. The overall financial resources of the adult with special needs might include wages from employment, SSI, Supplement Payment Program funds, a special-needs trust, and some money from an adult sibling.
Siblings can offer support in the area of day-to-day business as well. Making appointments, assisting in paying bills, arranging transportation, purchasing clothing and food, and entertainment outings are areas where the siblings may help complete the task or actually help financially.