Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How can I get some real help?

I an not a relative or real friend but an old acquaintance who ended up living in the
house of this guy, whom is now, I am convinced , a simple schizophrenic. I am reaching out
here because he has no insight into his condition and treats me mostly as if I don’t
exist. But because I needed this shelter and have invested heavily in it (there was never
another home for me all my life) I feel responsible for the place and his well being. He
doesn’t care for the place properly and takes shoddy care of himself and I feel the need
to help to protect my investment and do the right thing by him. But it’s a ghastly
isolated situation for me and over the years I have reached out in numerous ways, with no
success. No counselor grasps what’s really going on and how I am being harmed by this too.
I don’t think Adult Protective Service would be interested in this although I was referred
there by the social work licensing board in this state. I need help as a caretaker and
respite for me and supervi
sion/household help when I can’t be here. I am also practically broke and have applied
for subsidized housing for myself alone. Any respectful advice is welcome. Neither of us
has any family to speak of and his closest relatives don’t care about my predicament. I
wrote to them recently and they didn’t respond to me or him. I feel they should be
interested and give him the choice to (re)join them, but they apparently don’t want the
responsibility either… Neighbors don’t care and so I have pretty much run out of ideas.
As most of us know low income “therapy” is usually worse than useless. We are both seniors
and my energy and physical ability won’t last forever. He seems to be deteriorating
greatly as he ages (I’ve been here 10 years now), and for me to be saddled with 100% of
his care and this place and my life too…feels unreal and grossly unfair and requires a
real solution. I am afraid if I just move out he will become completely dilapidated and
the house and all my investment
here too. He wants me to have the place when he dies but I can’t imagine this unending
utter slavery in order to qualify…Social clubs for mental disability require a medical
diagnosis and he is uncooperative that way. What can I do to get some real help taking
care of him???

Hi Averay,

I tried to imagine what to do:

First of all, in any circumstance, not prudent to invest in any dwelling or other property I don’t own. Try to stop thinking about that because it’s not something in your control. Stop investing in the property. I think the property distorts and muddles the real issue of what to do to help your friend while first taking care of yourself, which is why I suggest you completely forget about it.

I hope you find subsidized housing for yourself because that seems like a sustainable option for you.

I understand you care about and are concerned for your friend.

There is no way I know of in the US to get medical treatment for someone with a mental illness who does not want medical treatment or meet legal criteria for involuntary commitment.

Whether or not you move out, make sure you contact Adult Protective Services or other social workers. Be there to make sure they interview your friend in person. Write down every concern you have for his safety and his limitations with activities of daily living. Put it in their hands. Mail it to them in a registered letter.

In some places in the US you can request a health evaluation through a filing with the court; this obligates the state to evaluate a person’s mental health and it seems for seniors there must be some process to get people to safety.

Where we live, respite care and supervision/ household help are impossible to get unless a person is very wealthy and can simply afford to hire. But follow up with social workers; maybe these are available where you live.

It doesn’t matter what family or others should or should not do to help out. Since they are not helping, assess your situation based on what you can actually do and what resources are available (probably none or incredibly few).

I don’t believe in abandoning people. That said, we are just human and have our own limitations. Sadly, when it becomes difficult to take care of ourselves, it becomes impossible to take care of someone else. If you are in a harmful situation, you need to take care of yourself first. When you are on solid ground, then you can help your friend.

You are right. It’s partly my karma too I know that. I will just try to manage this in rational small steps and connect with more good neighbors in an effort to just feel more comfortable in this place and find other ways to interact…it will help my own sanity level so I’m not always acting on a panic-level. I have contacted some senior day agencies and social work places and hopefully something can come from that. Thank God I have an inquiring active mind and I can lost in you tube videos for hours so I am not totally alone…I know many prisoners would give a lot to have the right to do that too…
Thank YOU for caring. This intelligent considerate response from you was over the top wonderful!


If you ever get to the point where he would go to the hospital with you, remember to tell them that he is a danger to himself. Untreated Schizophrenia is a slow and inhumane death, but our culture doesn’t see it that way. You will have to convince the doctors so they will help him.

He would never go to a hospital and he is not dangerous to himself. His disorganization consists in incredible slovenliness and surface politeness but no real meaningful interaction with me. It feels very dangerous for me and I am going nuts from the loneliness. I could use a friend here.