Advice: Dad is caregiver to uncle refusing help

Hello, I joined here hoping to get some insight. My uncle (dads younger brother) is in his 40s and has been diagnosed schizophrenic. At this point, he has been refusing treatment. He won’t get the shots to help him, he won’t bathe, doesn’t wash clothes, etc. he throws out his furniture and unplugs his fridge, doesn’t take anything from us unless it’s money. He wants only beer, if we give him food he will sometimes throw it in the dumpster. He walks around town wearing the same clothes and usually it’s winter clothes, even in the summer. He has slashed family members tires on their cars before, and that’s when he started to get a shot to help him, however my dads power of attorney expired and my uncle will not sign a new one in order for my dad to get him to take the shot. Not that it helps that much, but it helped a lot more than him not being on it.

My question is: what is there to do at this point? Obviously they can’t force him to do anything, but what would be the best option at this point, putting him in a home? Also, I’m curious to know…would my dad also get in trouble legally by not getting him help, even if he refuses? My dad always says he doesn’t want him going to a home because he feels like that’s sending him away, and he feels like they can’t force him to bathe or anything either so it would be pointless I guess (I think that’s his logic). My mom and I keep trying to convince my dad that this is no way for his brother to live and he’s going to end up hurting someone or himself with how bad he is getting, and I really wanna give him the info that if he doesn’t get his brother help, he could get in trouble as well (I think he can at least). Thank you if you read all of this!

Hi @NikkiOcean , welcome to the site. You will find lots of ideas that perhaps you could apply by searching on here to read what others have done to try and help their loved one. You will get some direct answers to your post too, but many more thousands are on the older threads.

First off, I do not believe that there is any way that your dad could “get into trouble” for not helping his brother, unless he is legally his guardian, but it doesn’t sound like that is the case. Does your uncle live with your dad?

Secondly, the symptoms your uncle is showing sound sort of similar to what has occurred to many other family members with schizophrenic relatives. I know from firsthand experience also, as bad hygiene, refusal to medicate, wanting money, and wearing odd clothing were some of the things that my daughter did when she was in psychosis (for 3 years).

Homes are very expensive and often not available for those with schizophrenia. I could never find a home to take in my daughter, she HAD to live with me or be homeless, and I couldn’t make her homeless. However, if I could have found a place, I probably would have, just for peace in my home, as she was screaming at non-existent people all night long, ruining my sleep for years.

I don’t know where your uncle lives, but your dad could try to get your uncle force hospitalized through the court system if your uncle destroys things or threatens bodily harm to self or others. Only an arrest, forced hospitalization and court ordered medication saved my daughter from herself, almost 3 years ago now. I hated myself at the time, but I called the police many times on her, and testified in court to get her forced onto a medicine that I knew worked on her.

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Thank you for the reply, I appreciate the help! My uncle does not live with my dad. He used to have power of attorney over him but like I said, he won’t sign it again so he has now been without his shot since January. Even then, the shot only really stabilized him, he still wasn’t a functioning person (as in he still wouldn’t bathe, eat right, only drinking beer or smoking, etc.)

Last night, for example, he was waking around town and the cops stopped him because he was stumbling. He was drunk, so my parents went to check on him to see how much trouble he was in. He told my parents and the cops that he wasn’t in the street, he wasn’t drunk, he basically lied all the time, about everything. So he’s very much no not very functioning, throws away food thinking we poison it, lies that we don’t give him money or anything like that. So it gets hard. I will pass the message along to my parents about the court order, I truly appreciate your response and hope all is well with your daughter now!

Oftentimes meds only help in SOME ways, and some meds more than others. Sometimes meds don’t help at all. It is tricky to navigate schizophrenia. It sounds like your uncle has classic problems caused by this illness, unfortunately. In my county, it is called “ex-parte” to ask the court for commitment. Perhaps it is a path that your parents can use. I’m not sure, since your uncle is living on his own. Is there a NAMI group near your parents? I got friendly in-person and phone support there too. But keep coming on this site to read. Education is the best first step.