“We have an incredible family life but it is a very fragile one. Any significant event to either of us puts the entire family at great risk. We struggle to keep up with the daily routine. As Diane and I transition from middle to old age, we will not be able to continue being caregivers with any effectiveness. Unless programs and funding are in place, our family’s story does not have a happy ending.”
Pat and Diane Stewart
View the full story at http://www.realstoriesrealpeople.org/aaron-and-ryan/.
The Stewart Family story embodies all the challenges that families face when caring for a child with a developmental disability. Their story is a complex one for several reasons, one of which is that Pat and Diane are caregivers to two grown sons. Pat and Diane live with emotional, physical and financial challenges that most people cannot even begin to fathom. They have been the sole caregivers to Aaron and Ryan for almost 22 years and have never received any funding for support. In addition, Aaron is aging out of high school in one month and without support services and a plan in place he is at risk for living a life of isolation. Despite the challenges these parents face, Pat and Diane are not only concerned for the future of their sons but also the future of all persons who are living a with a disability. As Pat and Diane struggle to keep their heads above water they are thinking about ways they can advocate within their community to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to live meaningful and productive lives.