Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rewards and Challenges Come with Caring for a Sibling with a Disability

COLUMBIA, Tenn. -- Robert Fitts grabs his limp left arm and drapes it across his lap. He lifts his left leg and moves it closer to his right. Then he adjusts himself in his chair.
“My personality has changed since my stroke,” Robert says, pausing for a moment to find the words to describe how. “I was my own boss for 10 years.”
“And now you’re our boss,” his sister, Alicia, 48, teases from nearby.
“She’s my boss,” corrects Robert, 45.
For the past eight years, Alicia Fitts has helped her parents care for her younger brother, who suffered a traumatic brain injury from a stroke. She manages his medication, drives him to therapy appointments and doctor visits, and handles legal paperwork.
“She’s our walking angel,” says their father, Bill Fitts. “She keeps us all from falling apart.”

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