My name is Graham and I am one of Bruce’s older brothers. I am now 57 years old.

Bruce, with Merle, age 87

Bruce was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome at a very early age. As a young child, Bruce lived a relatively normal life up till the time of school. A decision then had to be made as where he would go for schooling. Crowle home was the choice and he stayed there until he was 18 years old. I remember when Bruce turned 18 and Mum and Dad were told he couldn’t continue at Crowle Home as a day person. My Dad had his own business and he then decided that Bruce would come to work with us. Bruce integrated with all of us at my Dad’s Service Station, and things went along smoothly for Bruce, doing simple work tasks. He enjoyed the work environment and especially the love given by Dad and the customers. Dad idolized Bruce.

All went well until our Dad died suddenly died on 12th June, 1981. My Mum is such a trooper, knowing she then had the role of looking after Bruce on her own. She has done this for the past 28 years and is now 87 years old.

So what happens next? My Mum will not live forever, and Bruce will most likely outlive her. As Bruce’s brother it is my responsibility to look after him. I have two children myself and I would find it very difficult to ask either of my children or my wife to look after my disabled brother when something happens to our Mum.

Bruce has severe problems with speech and communication. This makes functioning in the community very difficult. Imagine him having to travel on public transport when his speech is almost unrecognizable to anyone outside the family. He cannot recognize money, so the two together would make him very vulnerable.

Then why is my family left with the problem of Bruce? Where does he go? Bruce has a good work ethic around people he knows and he fits in well at the garage. He is a very routine person and while that routine is in place he is quite happy. But what will happen when his routine is turned upside down when he and Mum are separated? Where to next?

Do I say to my wife that when my Mum dies, that we have to take Bruce to our house and care for him? Or if something happens to my wife and myself that my two children have to look after my brother?

Bruce does not like change from his daily routine, so if we could get Bruce into suitable accommodation in the Ryde community, with friends he knows, and if my Mum were still alive, then I am sure the transition would be a lot easier for Bruce and Mum. I know if supported accommodation in a purpose built facility were an option, then it would be a perfect solution for Bruce and our family.

I will never abandon Bruce, as he is much loved. It was always my Dad’s anguish when he was alive about what would happen to Bruce if he and Mum died before Bruce. This situation is part way there with my Dad gone and my aged Mum taking care of Bruce.