Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How to keep our loved one from going missing?

My brother went missing for two weeks. He just up and left right after my mom had gone off to work. He was gone for two whole weeks wandering around a huge park with no food or water in the heat and rain. Now the hospital may be discharging him today if he is medically cleared (psychiatrist already cleared him pft) and we don’t know what to do. My mother is going to quit her job to take care of him because she doesn’t want this to happen again. But she is worried he will slip out when she sleeps. I worry he will harm her since he has not been stabilized and is talking strangely over the phone. It has happened before. He has come back from being missing and hurt my mother and I. Other than putting alarms on the doors/windows we don’t know what else to do. We also worry he’ll easily figure out how to turn them off before leaving through the window like he has before. My mother was suffering a lot while he was gone and we were looking for them. I don’t want that ordeal again. We want to take him to a psych hospital so that they could keep him for a while to get him on meds and stabilize him but he may refuse or they may not take him.

I am so anxious right now. Does anyone have any suggestions of what else we can do?

How old is your brother and where do you live? In the US or out of the US?

U.S. and he is in his twenties but we are going to go for guardianship.

You have a lot of things going on and Safety for you and your mother is Key! Others on this form can help you regarding this.
A thought for your mom. If quiting her job would be difficult for the family, Has she looked into asking for FMLA with her HR dept? This would save her postion and give her time at home with your brother when he is discharged and not have and go to work until things get settled down.
They hold her postion for 1 yr.

Welcome to the forum:) I always want to add - “sorry you are here”.

I did check with my friend who used to teach Family to Family. I was hoping she would have some suggestions. Here are her thoughts. First of all, you and your Mom need to take the NAMI course Family to Family. Its free, you need to sign up right away as sometimes there is a waiting list. Family to Family can give you enough information to come up with a plan for moving forward. They will give you local resources and lots of information that you don’t even realize you need.

Take a deep breath. Do you live with Mom and brother? Do both of your bedroom doors have good locks? Being able to sleep in peace is important. If your brother is noisy at night, get really loud fans to run at night in your rooms.

In regards to your mom leaving work - @Mojoclay’s suggestion about FMLA is a good one. One of the first things they teach you at Family to Family is that you have to keep YOUR life going as a priority. Is it in Mom’s personal interest to not work? Can she afford it? I try to think of it as damage control in regards to not making the scz the priority of everyone’s lives. You want to keep your lives on track and as normal as possible.

My friend also suggested a pet to help keep your brother centered at home. I can see that as I know my son makes a lot of decisions about his living space and how it will suit his pets. Plus they are great company. Cats are easier on the schedule, dogs do help a person stay on schedule if they can handle it.

She said it is dangerous when they are drawn to leaving and disappearing. They get comfortable on the streets and it gets harder and harder to get them to stay home. Pets, video games, any interests that can be done at home are helpful for those days when they feel restless.

Good luck!

Edit - she also said that our family members tend to do the same thing over and over again. Is there anything your brother says he wants?

My mother has applied for fmla. She is close to retirement age. My brother is not noisy as a matter of fact he can be very quiet so my mother is afraid he is going to slip out during the night while she sleeps. She is close to retirement age. Unfortunately he has hurt animals in the past so we worry he would do something to a pet. I will try to do the nami thing but I asked for their help while he was missing and the links they provided weren’t even relevant to missing persons so I am doubtful they will be much help. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me.

Individual NAMI organizations can be pretty useless. I’m glad you will consider attending a Family to Family course (that they usually do pretty well because they are following scripted material)

I am sorry about the experience with animals. Does he have any interests?

I track my family member through text alerts on his accounts. Other people use phones for tracking

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When he leaves he doesn’t take anything with him just the clothes on his back and he is picky about them too so no chance of getting one of those nifty ones with gps trackers sewn in.

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I am so sorry, I wish there were more suggestions for you. Constant vigilance is so difficult. The only other thing I can think of would be motion sensitive cameras around the outside of your home. They will send an alert to your phone and you can have your phone volume up pretty loud to wake you up. Today’s cameras work on wi-fi and many use batteries instead of requiring actual wires running to the camera. We even have a simple camera that we can plug in and move around from room to room. Its from Home Depot and we use it in our rental space when no one is there to make sure we don’t have any break-ins.

If your brother has paranoia issues he won’t like the cameras.