I worry about how to care for my brother with autism and his mental health when my parents are gone
Young black man in city park face portrait smile happy

My parents have long avoided having the talk with me about how I can take care of my older brother when they are gone. Daniel, who is 29 and on the autism spectrum, needs full-time supervision and someone is always at home with him — my mom, my dad or me. But I worry about the future when I will be his primary caregiver.

I won’t lie — I’m worried about what my life will look like when my parents can no longer care for Daniel. I love my brother but I still have dreams to fulfill. Will I find a romantic partner who will accept us — me plus Daniel? Will I ever go to Paris? What about my hopes and career ambitions to produce news segments for radio?

Mostly, I worry that without a plan I won’t know the best way to take care of my brother. Daniel has battled Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for the past four winters. He can go days without eating solid food, forcing my parents to resort to blending green vegetables and bananas as meal replacements three times a day. Daniel lost 30 pounds one year as a result of severe depression.

Read more by Ariam Alula Frezghi on the Black Youth Project.

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