Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Interesting way to check on my isolated sister

I just wanted to share this story with the forum. I have spoken before about my schizo-affective sister. Sometimes we can communicate for several months in a row and then for no reason known to me she shuts me out and refuses to answer the phone or the door for many months, even years. It’s a challenge just to find out if she is okay or not. A wellness check can go one of 2 ways. Either she won’t answer and the officers will leave and believe she is not at home or she will scream she is okay and then she will assume I was the one that called for the wellness check and that will absolutely lengthen the time it will take for her to ever speak to me again.

This past period of silence is just now going on 22 months. I haven’t lost hope though, she finally started letting me leave voice messages after months of somehow preventing me from doing so either by picking the phone up and hanging it up or unplugging her machine…not sure which way she did it. The messages will eventually sink in to her mind I believe and she will hopefully remember I am not harmful to her and I really do love her.

Anyway…during the times we communicate and visit I am always trying to enlighten her on the ways of the world, a little at a time, she always has a million questions as though I am her one and only conduit to the outside world and not realizing she could be her own conduit if she chose to be -but deliberately (it seems) she chooses to live as a shut in except for the times she walks to a local grocery store and back home again.

The last time I took her shopping, a couple of years ago. I signed her up for a frequent shopper card and tried to explain how she could benefit from it. I don’t think she understands it but bless her heart- she uses her card faithfully anyway. I can look up her card on the internet and see when she has shopped and what she has bought, and knowing that information goes a long way to giving me peace of mind that she is at least okay enough to shop and buy food for herself. I also take the time to click on all the items I know she likes to buy so she can get discounts for them.

She’s likely oblivious to the discounts (I have watched her shop) she doesn’t pay attention to any prices but she only buys a limited group of items (her favorites) I notice she forgets when she buys some things and doubles up or triples up-no surprise to me on that. When I have visited her I always go through her fridge and cupboard and try to dispose of rotted and outdated foods and make her aware of all the duplicates.

Oddly enough when I see her buying things that I introduced her to, (especially knowing she has no teeth and she refuses to wear her false teeth), she buys organic bottled fruit and veggie smoothies and she buys soups I bought for her like butternut squash soup and other healthy items, it weirdly makes me feel “remembered and maybe even loved” by her in an unexplainable way. It’s just my imagination and deep desire to feel connected to her in the face of total rejection.

On the flip side when I see she has bought fixings to make hamburgers I am aghast! She has done that when we were talking before and I explained to her that “gumming” a burger does not break it down quite enough to make it properly digestible. She suffered terribly from bad stomach aches and constipation for that very reason and yet that tidbit of knowledge she forgets. Still, she is okay enough to shop and to buy her favorite food and food I introduced her to so I know she is minimally okay.

Maybe this harmless ‘tactic’ will help others in some way who find themselves in my kind of situation. I’ll followup when she finally lets me into her world again, I am hoping it will be this year for sure. I think it will be.


Hi Catherine,

It must be a huge relief to be able to know that she is purchasing healthy food and that she remembers good advice you have given her! I hope that she will let you back into her life soon. Do you ever send her cards or letters?


All the time! When she goes silent, it always takes a long time to get her back. Letters -cards and caring voice messages is the only way I can do it. Strange situation, but it is what it is. When I discovered the store card connection it was a huge relief indeed. :slight_smile: Thank you for responding.

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