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Will I have to look after my disabled sister in the future?

Many siblings are concerned about how their disabled brothers and sisters will cope with moving to a bigger school. They wonder if teachers will understand their brother or sister's needs and if other pupils will be kind to them. It is a big change for all children going to secondary school, but siblings know that it is can be harder for children who need support with learning, communicating and with making friends. Parents may also be feeling worried about this and that affects siblings too.

Most siblings wonder if they will have to look after their disabled brother or sister in the future. It can feel like a huge responsibility that most other young people don’t have to think about. It can be a big worry especially when you start thinking about how you want to lead your own life as an adult. The most important thing to know is that you do have choices about how much you want to be involved in your brother or sister’s life in the future.

Some things to know about looking after your disabled brother or sister in the future


There is no law that says siblings have to look after their brother or sister when they become adults. It is your choice as a sibling how much or little you want to be involved with supporting your brother or sister.


If your parent will be on their own doing all the care in the future they can ask for a care assessment and funding from Adult Social Care so that other people can be paid to help with some of the care.


You may have said when you were much younger that you would look after your brother or sister but realise now that this is not what you want to do anymore. It is OK to change your mind about this as you get older and this happens to lots of siblings.


If you are feeling under pressure to look after your brother or sister in the future it can really help to talk to a school counsellor or pastoral care person about this. You can also join an adult sibling support group to talk about these issues when you reach 18.

My sister is 17 now and has a paid carer helping her with washing and dressing at home. That means I can just be her sister rather than her carer.

More about the future

Many siblings wonder about the future. They want to be able to lead their own lives and also want their brothers and sisters to have good lives too.

Sibling info about disability

Many siblings find it hard to understand disability. Find out about different disabilities and conditions here.

Ask our sibling advisor

Need some information or advice? You can ask our sibling advisor any question about sibling issues.