How do I help my Dad?


Hello - I am 35 and my father has been diagnosed with sz for 19 years. He has not worked at all since then. The first few years it was hard for him to adjust to the medication. My mom took very good care of him and helped him adjust. My mom is a saint. Over the last 19 years he has only had a few spells where he had to go in for an extended stay and is usually resulted in changing medications. My dad’s father passed away about 5 years ago. After that he had another bad spell and I would have sworn he went off of his medication. My mom says he was taking it but that the dr said that with trauma the medicine can “stop working”. A couple of months later he seemed to go back to “his normal”. My mom and dad were married for 40 years and she passed away 3 months ago. Seeing as my dad has not paid a bill or taken care of really anything in the last 19 years (could barely get to the store without getting lost), I have stepped in to help pay the bills. It is hard to help with much else because I live out of state. My dad has gradually been slipping back to where he was after his dad passed away and I don’t know what to do. He is acting extremely out of character, spending huge amounts of money (that he doesn’t need to spend), thinks he is healing people, planting barricades of catcus’ in front of his window so the evil spirits don’t get through, etc. My mom was always the one to bring him back, but she is not here to do that. I am the only one close enough (emotionally) that could say anything but I don’t know how to approach it without running him off or having him cut off ties with me. I thought about calling his doctor to get advice. I know they cant tell me anything but can they give me advice? I really feel like he is still taking the medication but it is definitely not working right now. Will it suddenly start working again after the trauma of losing my mom? Does he need to go in to have the meds changed (I really don’t think I can get him to go in). He says he feels the best he has ever felt in his life. That is hard to argue with. I’m afraid he is going to end up in jail, spending all his money and lose the house, or will get himself into the wrong situation. Any suggestions? I love my dad and just want to see him back to his functioning self. I promised my mom many times that if anything ever happened to her that I would take care of him, but I don’t know how.


I recommend setting up power of attorney for yourself so you can handle the situation. Research it and contact a law firm. This is what my parents did with my grand parents and as far as I know, it should work here. You should be able to handle all of his medical necessities.


I don’t think his meds will just start working again magically with out some adjustment. He’s had a deep traumatic event happen. He’s lost the love of life and his functioning buffer. Even if someone is perfectly mentally healthy, loosing a spouse is not easy to over come. I work with seniors and many healthy people don’t get over the loss of their spouse. He’s Sz, he’s not just going to snap out of loosing his wife. He’s going to need some help. This illness is known for tampering with emotional responses, so he might come off as happy and manic when really he’s suffering. I’m sure he feels great, he’s going into positive symptom with all the energy of a power house.

My brother has a “cross wired” laugh. He says he feels sad, he can feel the deep pain of sorrow hit him, but instead of tears coming out, a laugh happens. He doesn’t think it’s funny at all.
When that laugh happens, we the family know that he’s deeply hurt, very scared, and very very upset. This illness cross wired his head and when he’s really happy, tears will come, when he full of sorrow, he’ll laugh. He can’t help it.

But back on your Dad, I’d say, your fears of spending all the money, loosing the house, agitating the neighbors are all very real.

I would say, find a mental health service in your Dad’s area. There are visiting nurses and case workers who do weekly wellness checks, help with bills, and can keep an eye on things, med can be delivered, so can groceries. Day hospitals and senior centers and get him out for small outings so he doesn’t recluse in his house and slide into negative symptoms.

and google mental health services for your Dad’s area and you will see what is available. You will need to talk to a lawyer to see what you can do financially and you do need to talk to a case worker who knows the legal complications of dealing with a parent with mental illness who can’t take care of his finances.

It’s a fine line, he’s an adult of course so they are going to protect his privacy, but he can’t manage on his own, so he needs to have outside help. There is a lot of legal involved in this. A case worker will know the laws of your Dad’s area. Many laws are different from state to state. So what is good to go in your state might be just the opposite in your Dads.

I hope this gives you some place to start. Good luck and I hope the best for your family. Please forgive me for not saying this earlier, but I am sorry for your loss.


Welcome to the forum summs. I’m sorry it is under such circumstance.

Yes you can talk to your father’s doctors. Due to privacy laws they may not be able to tell you much but they can legally listen to what you have to say. If in their judgement he is not able to make his own decisions than I do believe they can talk to you in more depth.

As kidsister said I don’t think his medications well start working again on their own without some adjusting. He may be feeling some mania which would account for him feeling so good.

Looking into some sort of power of attorney or guardianship may be a good idea at this point before things go to far.

Maybe see if they have a crisis outreach team in your area. If it comes time that he needs to be hospitalized to adjust his medications then they can help you with this.

You have taken on a pretty big responsibility. It will take time for you to learn how things work.

My condolences on the loss of your mom.