Afraid to let go


My 23yr old son has schizophrenia. He lives at home with me. I am torn between him moving out or staying with me. I want him to be able to make it on his own but I’m also afraid that he might not be able to without me. I want to let go but I’m afraid.


Hi @Believing - How do you think he’d feel about living on his own? Is he able to cook for himself? My son lives with me but I would like it if he lived on his own. I think he would like it as well. We are at the beginning of this - at this point, I don’t think he can live on his own since he has no income. I was going to say that he’d never purchase his own food, but perhaps he would order it from the store. He has been walking to get cigarettes so maybe I am underestimating his capability. A friend of mine has an adult mentally challenged son. After his father passed he started doing some of the things that his father had previously done - like setting the table.


I think 23 with sz is too young in my opinion to let go, only because the most serious of the symptoms tend to be at their worst up until age 25, in some cases things improve somewhat afterward but of course stability and lucidity matter to navigate a world that is sometimes difficult for those of us with all of our functioning in tact…but you know your son better than anyone. You have to go with your heart and your mind. My son is going on 34 and stable (has been for a few years) and is just now starting to make me think he will be okay one day to manage alone by the small improvements I have seen gradually happening over the years…My best to you.


Hi Believing, I was in your shoes just 5 months ago, my 22 yr old sz son became eligible for a subsidized apt. and was very excited to move into it, which he did the end of Oct. 2017. He had always lived with me before that and he was never motivated to do anything much and I really helped him with everything from food to transportation and moral support, just about everything. Well, luckily his new apt. is only 5 minutes from where I live because I feel things haven’t changed too much. I still see him everyday and coordinate his food , cleaning, laundry, errands, doctors appts and helping him with his companion dog ,which he got when he moved in his apt and is a puppy. He also calls me with some issue or I call him to check on him about 10 times a day. I am happy he has his own apt and he seems proud of living on his own, but it is still a ton of work for me, he is not very independent yet. It would be easier if he drove and had some friends but that isn t happening. He is very good with his dog tho, so that makes me feel better that he is not alone all the time. I don’t think the whole apartment thing would of worked if he didn’t live so close to me because he isolates himself so much in his apt, I thought he might try to meet some neighbors and make some friends in his new place, but he is not interested.


My son lives in a board and care facility which he likes. He engages with the other residents and his medications are managed by staff. I worry about my son as well. He used to live with his grandmother and I. My son only has one friend who he seldom sees. Therefore, all of his activites were with grandmother and I. My concern was that after my mother and I are gone, he would become much more isolated which would be detrimental. He seems to be “finding himself” at the board and care and learning to be more independant.


One of the best things we did was help our daughter with sz, when she was 22, to move to her own apartment. It probably saved our marriage, certainly saved our own sanity, and our daughter’s illness improved remarkably because she had responsibilities to focus on, like buying food, cooking, doing the chores etc. It gave her a purpose. She’s 30 now and loves her own home.

Like irene says, it is a ton of work, our daughter is 10 miles from us, we make sure she’s keeping on top of things, helping with laundry, appointments, bills etc. but the situation is far better for all of us than when she was living at home and driving both herself and us completely mad.

So my vote is for independent living, with parental support.


My son is 20 and was just stabilized and is doing well. He is a saver and has saved every penny from when he was working before he was sick and even after his diagnosis. He just got a new job with more hours and he has figured out he has enough saved to move out on his own and is now insistent upon doing so. If he was “normal” he would be moved out by now, I know that, but I’m also in the same boat. We would have to co-sign so that is something we can leverage but it’s also developmental. It is normal to want to move out at their ages. Trying to come to a compromise. It’s very difficult. I know how you feel.


If my family member ever chooses to move out, I will support, of course. But I will not do all the tasks that are required, which will probably limit that possibility.

Seriously, if a person with sz could even try to move out by taking concrete steps towards the goal, that’s really impressive. And I would help if my family member took the lead.

I know I would be there every day if they live close enough.


I don’t think it’s a good idea for people with schizophrenia to go live on their own if they are going to end up isolated. If they don’t have their own family I’m talking about a spouse or their own children.or have friends over often I think they should stay with their parents. Isolation is not good for anyone especially people with mental illness. They can also end up extremely poor if living on social security and not working.


I think it depends on his individual capabilities. Sometimes the idea of living on their own is more appealing than the reality of it. Is it possible to try a short term contract or even month-to-month in case it doesn’t work out?

My brother currently lives in board-and-care. I’m hoping he will be able to stay with us within a few months. Maybe eventually he could move into his own apartment some day, but first I’d have to assess whether he would be able to take care of himself safely. The positives to living ‘at home’ with us is improved living conditions, supervision, company, and if he causes any damages we can decide how to handle it instead of some other landlord.

That being said, I do think it’s good to encourage independence if/when possible. My brother wants to get a bike. I’m a little nervous about his ability to lock it up or ride safely near streets, but on the other hand I can’t bubble wrap him. I’ll probably get a cheaper model in case it does get lost or stolen and I won’t be in a rush to replace it if it does, but I have to let him try things and have some independence within reason. Just my 2 cents. :relaxed:


You are so sweet. Your plain and simple statement of ‘if he causes damages we can decide how to handle it instead of some other landlord’ is why I am my son’s ‘landlady’. Damage happens. I deal with it. Life goes on. It is stressful, but definitely less so than when he was living in apartments with other landlords and property managers. I now keep everything in good working order, but worry less about damaged doors and walls. I figure if/when he moves out, I can get all the repairs done at the same time.


My son was diagnosed bipolar type II and schizophrenic at 19, he is now 27 and has lived with me since his diagnosis. After taking several NAMI classes, attending works shops and learning as much as possible about his illnesses I’ve determined that healthy dependence is the best for his current situation. I’ve very blessed to have an employer that allows my son to remain on my health care insurance plan (HR determined that when SSA declared him disabled at 21 he can remain on my health care insurance as long as I remain a full time employee). His mother could not take the stress and left the year after he got sick. I’m determined to be the best parent/caregiver I can be and that includes taking care of myself and preparing for his future after I’m no longer capable of being his caregiver or deceased. My response to you @Believing is to develop a plan of action. Determine what’s important. Set up a trust/will, grow a support system for your son and yourself. My son had been attending a bi-weekly support group for five years. A family here in north Seattle started a weekly support group for their son with schizophrenia in order to expand his social network. Keep learning, reading and asking questions. This forum is an ideal place to learn. Keep your chin and know that many parents, would love to have their child safe and at home, so many mentally ill people are incarcerated, homeless and living on the street or have taken their own lives. Again keep your chin up.


I can only speak from personal experience.
My older brother is scz. I learned early on that home life was a trigger for him. The only times he acted up were when he was at home. He spent most of his time at a halfway house. But whenever he came home, even for just a weekend, he became incredibly violent and unreasonable. He was fine anywhere else but home. There are obvious reasons for that. He grew up at home, became schizophrenic at home, committed his worst acts of violence at home. So he didn’t feel comfortable there. It just wasn’t a healthy environment for him.


My 22 yr old son lives with me and I agree with everyone. He will do tasks when I ask him, but does not remember anything if I leave a list or am not there. I have tried to find a home without success. The other housing option requires more independence than he has. If left with money it would all go on sugar snacks, chocolate milk and cigarettes. I’m going to try and get the handibus for his next doc appmt, so he can learn how to use it. One tiny step at a time! I think I underestimate him too, sometimes he surprises me with how quick and observant he is, and lately he has been offering to help me! Cleaning up after himself remains a big challenge though. My co-dependent group helps me with the letting go stuff… It is a comfort to know I am not alone with this! Wow! Good luck to us all, and prayers too


My 22 year old son with scz lives with me as well. I would love for my son to be able to live in independently but I don’t know if he will ever be able to do so. Even the simplest of task seem hard and difficult for him. He does do some things that I ask but they have to be repeated or written down and he gets off task quite often. He has no friends and pretty much just has me, though his father does come get him for a day here and there. I would love for him to have good friends and to be able to socialize more. He does take his medicine at this time with no problem but is in total denial that he has scz. My friends and family just have no idea and they all think I should put him in a group home or such, but they have no idea on the difficulties of even doing this. I just try to deal the best way I know how and come to the realization that this is my life now. I would love to talk/chat have other mothers that share this journey. No-one else seems to understand and they have no clue but love to dish out all the advice in the world. Best wishes to all the parents that have a child they are loving and supporting that have this horrible debilitating mental illness.


Hi,just read your posts and can relate to your concern about our sz children. My 22 year old son does live in his own subsidized apt. and has for 5 months now, but is nowhere near independent. I see him everyday, more on days I don t work, and have to help him with so many of his daily tasks. I feel such sadness whenever I leave his apartment because I know he is alone so much. I am all he has right now, as he has no social life and rarely sees his dad or siblings. I am glad he does have his own place because I know I won’t be around forever and he has to learn at some point to live his life without me. He is nowhere near that tho. The good thing is that his apt is close to my place so I can get there quickly.


My son is 32, was diagnosed 5 years ago and lives alone. He has been on long-acting injectables for two years. He shops, cooks and manages his own budget (he’s on disability). Over the last two years, as he has got more and more stable and has not had any psychoses at all, he has become more sociable and goes out to see friends and meet more people. It is possible. I also helped him a lot at first and he had a lot of support from the Early Intervention Service (we’re in the UK) but now he is completely independent. He is on disability and manages his own budget but now he is hoping to go back to university and/or find a job in the near future.


Hi y’all
This conversation is timely and interesting for me. 3 days a ago my schiz 21yrs-old left home again to wonder around the city. She explained to someone “I WANT TO FEEL FREE”. This is about the 5th time time she just left without telling me and mom. Now am thinking today to make her not to return home or tell her she could stay on her own if she likes it. But am not sure if she can hold down a job. However eventually she gonna have to live on her own someday anyway. or do u think we need to support her forever. Both of are getting tied now. I guess this disease is contagious in a sense that it got us almost depressed. We have hope though that things will change


*wander i should correct


My 33 year old daughter wandered. We filed a missing persons report and looked for her daily. One day, my son found her out walking, just by good timing. She refused to come home. However, once her money ran out, she just came home. I resent having to pay for her for over a year, then accepted that this is the best way. I can’t put her out, she can’t hold a job to pay for her own place. Her step-father and I own our home, built a back door in her room, put in a fridge and microwave, and made the hall bathroom “hers.” She works very part time, I give her money and take her shopping. Mostly she stays in her room. If she could live on her own, I would want her to. I will not always be here. I will have to try and set up a trust for when I am gone.