Group home experiences?


#1

Hi. New to the site, and would really appreciate if anyone has any experience either living in a group home or having a loved one in one. Here’s some backstory-

I’m the step mom of 3 boys -well, 23, 21,and19, so not so much boys anymore. I’ve been a married to their father for 13 years, so I’m very much attached. I have paranoid scz on my bio dad’s side. I kinda know what the symptoms and behavior looks like. For years, since he was about 10 my youngest had some worrying traits- daytime “nightmares” that were pretty damn scary, and he accused me of feeding him estrogen to “make him a girl” for about a year. I told my hubby about my concerns. He didn’t believe me. The boys bio mom (don’t get me started on THAT one! Lol ) told the boy that he had her bipolar disorder, and even admits to encouraging him to smoke pot for the symptoms. (Yeah. Really). So, fast forward, the boy is caught numerous times high or even smoking pot at the high school. It’s a small town, so he gets a lecture from the cop and my hubby gets a call to pick him up. During this time, he becomes increasingly paranoid, and seems able to function less and less in everyday life. Becomes angry in outbursts and develops the “flat effect”. Finally he has a complete break, and is hospitalized. The first time he’s there, the only diagnosis is a personality disorder. We get no info, no help or direction, and nobody seems to have the time to explain what’s going on. The second involuntary hospitalization, he is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. It makes more sense. While there, some doctor mentions that there is a group facility nearby our home. I have researched schizophrenia extensively, asked questions of every dr, pdoc, therapist I could get my hands on. I know that there are good places for people to live, usually only months at a time, but it seems more of a last resort or court mandated arrangement than voluntary. The boy is for some reason completely set on the idea of living in a group home for the rest of his life. I know it’s a lot to take in, and probably way too much info for the question , but does anyone have any insight? Into what kind of places they are, why he insists that’s where he wants to be? Anything is very much appreciated. Thanks!!


#2

Just like everything, there are good and bad group homes. I’ve lived in a few that were more damaging then helpful, and I’ve lived in a few that were really good for me. You have to go see for your self. I don’t know of anyone being in a group home for life, but who knows? I didn’t want to be in one at all. But it really helped me when I needed it.

I was going through my anger phase and the group home really turned my attitude around. My parents love me, I know that. But at the time, they couldn’t deal with me and my other siblings. Something had to give, so I ended up in a group home. The incident that really got me was, I was in a bad mood, and really angry and bitter and a nurse told me to pick up my stuff, and I remember shouting that “I can’t do that… I have SZ you know.” The nurse just looked at me and said, “You and everyone else in here, now just please pick up your stuff.” That sort of opened my eyes a bit.

You will have to look them over… The good ones have some structure, there is also a limit on how many to a room and what condition the clients are in will be taken into consideration. The bad ones, and over crowded, not clean, no case workers come around.
Also look on this site… Schizophrenia.com they have a whole section about group homes, day hospitals, pro and cons, is this really what you need…

http://www.schizophrenia.com/family/FAQgen.htm#housing

(you’ll have to scroll down a bit to get to the housing part, but it’s a good section.)


#3

Welcome to the site. I don’t have any experience with group homes. I’m wondering if his paranoia about possibly being poisoned is motivating his want to get out of the family home. I don’t usually hear of someone wanting to go into a group home. I know in the past for my son that long term was not much of a consideration. Your son saying that he wants to be in the home for the rest of his life may not be as long term as it implies. He may not see his physical life as lasting a long time. I know my son didn’t. Wishing you and your family all the best.


#4

Thanks guys. It’s distressing for my hubby mostly. He’s never dealt with any mental disorders, and it really freaks him out that the boy wants to leave his family. Its become an obsession, and he brings it up several times a day. I guess if he really wants it that bad, and he can get into one, it might open his eyes…


#5

There are such things as Day hospitals so your son can get that experience and still not leave home. You might have to look them up through hospitals in your area or the NAMI site…

http://www.nami.org/

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/psychiatry/patient_information/day_hospitals.html


#6

My son has been in a group home and is now in an assisted living residence.

The group home was in another state, when he was living with his dad, and was state run, but was a good one. There were probably a maximum of 20 residents, but the max stay was 1 year. He probably could have qualified to move into one of their supported apartments, but he chose to check himself out when he could. Long story. His dad put him on a plane and sent him back to the midwest a couple of years ago.

He moved into an apartment - as I live a ways out of town, and he doesnt drive, living with me would not work. He was not taking his meds, and I went thru a lot of struggles with property managers, and neighbors, and calling the police, and hospitalizations. 2 years and 3 apartments later, he is in what is called an assisted living residence. It is private, and many residents will live the rest of their lives there. It is in what was once a hotel, and can have maybe 80 residents total. Meds are monitored, but he can come and go as he pleases. There are planned activities, if he wants to participate, and understanding staff. Meals are in a common dining room. He doesn’t want to live there, but he can’t rent without a co-signer, and I will not co-sign on another lease. He can choose to enter the Independent Living Program there if he gets motivated to do so, and qualify to move into one of their smaller group homes. I dont know if he will, but I will not move him unless the staff agrees he is fully ready to live on his own again - soon most of the area property managers wouldnt rent to him anyway.


#7

I think the assisted living arrangement is more like what he’s thinking. Only, nobody really knows what he’s thinking because he can’t tell us. It really frustrates my hubby not being able to help him. If is frustrating. On the one hand, the boy says he won’t live in the studio on our property be sure he dosnt feel it’s safe, but then he adamantly wants to move into some kind of facility. It’s confusing and distressing. Thank you for your input, guys.


#8

maybe he sees facilities as “safe”? Have you asked him if there is anything that could be done to make the studio safe? When I was 15 to 17 I lived in an airstream trailer in the back yard of my parents house. I didn’t see the house as being safe anymore. My paranoia of my younger brother and my room was on the front of the house and the traffic and foot traffic were making me feel like someone was always about to break in or that there would be a drive by shooting…(even though that’s not a big thing in my city)


#9

We do ask. The only thing he will say is “it’s not safe”. When we ask if he feels a facility will be safe, he says “I don’t know”. When he’s been involuntarily admitted in county behavioral health (a terrible, terrible place) he didn’t like being there, but was always neutral about staying there or coming home. He’s really reluctant or unable to express what he’s thinking and feeling. He still wants to go “to a place” meaning a home adamantly.