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Brother as caregiver


“I thought I was grown up, but this is a whole new world for me,” explains 35-year old Eugene La. After losing his mother, Grace Yang-Sim in a car accident last November, Eugene became the sole caregiver to his 29 year-old brother, David, who has Down syndrome.

Before their mother died, Grace was working to save up for a condominium for David and herself, in hopes of moving out of the subsidized apartment the two of them lived in. Every day, she would walk David to his day programs at the University of Toronto.

Now, Eugene is responsible for taking full responsibility of his brother, along with balancing a full-time job in digital marketing. He also hopes to get a mortgage in order to fulfill his mother’s dream of purchasing the condo.

Despite the challenges of his new responsibilities, Eugene isn’t giving up: “ I'm going to do the best that I can to manage it and to make it work...when you’re  committed to having somebody depend on you all the time, you can't afford to fall or slip,” he said. In order to make things financially easier, Eugene has set up a trust fund for David.

When it comes to seeking help from others, the closest family members live in New York and Vancouver. For Eugene, placing David in an institution is not an option for consideration. With each day, Eugene and David are working together in order to make things work. Eugene hopes to save enough for caregivers to help out with taking care of David, just so that Eugene can have a few hours each day to to take care of his own personal responsibilities. Despite the lack of external assistance and support, Eugene has explained that David is becoming more self-sufficient.

Update June 26th 2014:
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Photo Credit: Jim Rankin / Toronto Star

Sources: - Jun 24 2014 - Feb 05 2014; background-size: 100px 25px; opacity: 0.9; cursor: pointer; top: 1012px; left: 489.5px;">