Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Getting a break from 24/7 caregiver role


We have a 35 yr old daughter currently living with us who has schizophrenia and is basically unable to function normally. She does not seek help and we are tired of having to be on our guard due to her behavior. We are older and would like to move out of the house, but we don’t have a clue as to how to get her down a path that leads away from us. If she were a man I would probably just kick her to the street and let things fall where they may. The real complication is she has a 7 yr old daughter. Society would send me to jail if I were to kick them both to the street. You can see the pickle we’re in.

My goals …

We would like to take a vacation one day and we don’t trust her staying in our house alone. I can’t afford to pay someone to be here 24/7 to monitor her and make sure we have a house when we get back.

What I want for her is to get assistance with housing and finances so she can move somewhere with her daughter. We spend a lot of money on the both of them due to the fact that she doesn’t work. They both have Medicaid for medical so that’s a good thing. The only way I see any progress is that if she gets worse and I can take some actions on her part. As of now I have no control and she basically wanders around on the streets all day while her daughter is in school. They come home and watch movies till they fall asleep. Its obvious that her daughter is going to pay a severe(sp?) price for her mother’s inability to get help. Due to people’s rights and mother’s rights everyone in this family is suffering.


If your daughter can not function normally then how will she take care of her daughter if they were out on their own?

Maybe look at having your daughter go into assisted living while temporarily taking over the role of parent for your granddaughter?

I don’t know where you live but if in the US then see if there is a NAMI chapter near you.
They should be able to provide you with some resources or at least point you in the right direction.


Is your daughter any danger to you? Or you are just tired and want to get rid of her?
If she is a danger to you or her own child or even herself she should get a help and be in the hospital.
Then you can have a break and maybe you can take your granddaughter for a one day vacation too?
If your poor daughter is not a danger for anybody maybe you could trust her a bit more and let her stay in your house alone while you are taking your one day vacation?

Your daughter’s behaviour - wandering around on the streets, watching TV, sleeping - doesn’t seem to be very extravagant for a person diagnosed with schizophrenia. I don’t know why you need so desperately to kick her and your grandchild to the street. I hope your daughter gets better NOT WORSE and she will be able to find a place for herself and her child somewhere.
Karolina ( mum of an adult daughter diagnosed with schizophrenia)


Briarue, I sympathize with your plight. As I was nearing retirement a few years ago I had visions of Alaskan cruises, weeks in sunny Florida and/or the Caribbean. I’ve been retired about 2-1/2 years now and my husband and I have not taken one single vacation. We dare not leave our home unattended either. Question for you though, is your daughter on disability? If so, I believe she would qualify for gov’t assisted housing (Section 8). I do agree with the others above that you will probably have to, and probably should, take responsibility for your granddaughter. It sounds like your daughter is not medicated(?) - if so does she just refuse to take the meds? She could probably be doing more with her life if she was properly medicated.

My son has been denied twice for disability, we have hired a lawyer for the appeal, and I am hoping that if we win, we will be able to get some assistance with his housing as well. I would love nothing better than for him to successfully be out on his own.

Best of luck to you.


thanks for the responses.

My daughter is not necessarily dangerous, she is just not mindful. She spends her time listening to voices that seem to direct her. If she does not want to hear the voices she blots them out with endless video watching. She does not work, she does not read, she doe not talk to people on the phone. The problem with leaving her alone is she forgets things … like maybe something is on the stove … like maybe it’s time to walk my daughter to school. She likes to go out at night to “go to the store” … and then comes back in a few hours. The store is 10 min from our house.

I would like to get disability for my daughter, but it’s not something I have control over. We have excellent mental health providers nearby, but she will not accept the help. I forced her to go to the hospital before I would let her move in with my wife and I. She spent the requisite 3 days in the hospital, got a week worth of meds and that was it. That was 6 months ago.

As far as me wanting to have her move … she does not want to be here anyway, but she has nowhere to go. She believes that some evil entity has taken us over so she does not want to be around us.

I’m not sure what to say to those who might think I’m cruel and heartless for wanting her to live elsewhere. Having a mentally ill person living with you puts you at an elevated stress level all the time.


thanks …

I “retired” a couple years ago, but thankfully I began working again last summer when my daughter and granddaughter arrived. I don’t work full time as I have a mother that I have to help with medical, financial and day to day activities. I’m starting to not sleep well with the addition of my sick daughter and her child as added responsibilities. I believe her child is what keeps her somewhat connected, unfortunately the child is not receiving much good from the relationship.

I do believe my daughter would be doing much better with the proper meds and a good caseworker. I don’t mind helping financially, but that can only go on so long. One day she may be much improved, but I may long gone before that happens.


I can relate – when I hear my son finishing up something he has prepared in the kitchen, I always make a swing through there after he leaves to check for open refrigerator door, oven still on, gas cooktop still on, dirty dishes everywhere, drops of water or milk on my wood table, back door wide open, food left on the countertop – not all on the same day mind you, but every time it is something. I can’t even imagine the stress you have, because ours is off the charts and we are just dealing with our one son living with us. Unfortunately it seems like a major calamity has to happen for changes to begin.


Could you try making it a condition of her living with you that she at least try to apply for disability? Or get a psychiatrist? That you won’t give her money to go to the store, etc if she does not do this.

For being un-medicated and without treatment it sounds like she is coping rather well. Not being mindful is not something that she has a lot of control over right now. Not being able to trust that your parents are your parents has to be hard on her as well. I do wish you all the best.


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Your situation is tough, and many of us have been there. You say you can’t do anything about getting her on Social Security Benefits. You can, if she wants them. You can fill out the application online, then she’ll have to talk with them briefly on the phone. If she can’t really do the talking, but is willing to give verbal permission for them to talk with you, then you handle things from there. Once she has benefits, she’ll likely need a payee (someone to handle the money for her). You could do this, but I don’t recommend it. Instead, there are private, third party payees who not only handle the money but can also find housing and arrange for other assistance.

Depending on where you live, you may have the option of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) or something like that. If so, you can petition a court to order her into treatment for her well-being. Once the order is made, she’ll be connected to an agency who will be tasked with making sure she gets the care she needs. Basically, this program commits the system to the client, rather than the client having to commit to treatment.

If you’d like to message me privately about this, feel free. Forty-five states have some sort of AOT, but not all of them have funded it. You can also find more info at

Good luck and take good care…