Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Mums frailty and ageing

Mum has been caring over 24 years of caring for an acutely florid constantly unwell through each of those years long for 3 daughters all with schizophrenia

I recently moved further away my sister recently quit alcohol and tobacco and has been delusional for 7 years plus with very aggressive alcoholism fuelled abuse.
We have seen real improvement since she quit 4 months ago but it’s a long time to heal.

I’ve just moved away by 45 minute drive and she can’t really drive in this time of year because of the light so I get the bus for 2 h journey

Stupid of me

She seems

More likely to snap

Less endurance

Tired and in pain all the time

Less likely to sugar coat

Easily abrupt

Hangs on to every wrong word as though there is no filter when to panic and when something is normal

I have no real benchmark for ageing parents
Only one i have got to know so far before was my horrendous mother in law

Somehow have to drag my schizophrenic ass over to actually helping
Not had to look after anyone’s needs other than company, sex or making food

I need to work out here a process of how to help
Need to know the most important things

Walking her dog
Preparing food
Cleaning
Bins

Someone please I just need advice.

How does this go generally.

Feel pretty useless after a weekend where I had a mini burnout and felt like I couldn’t do anything
Will save energy next time

She is stubborn and will keep quiet about things that upset her for several days.

Any pointers please?

Hi,
You seem to have a good handle on this already.
I’m new to the forum. I’m sorry you are dealing with this tough situation with your mum, while also being challenged by your own situation.
Through my own ignorance or obstinance, I haven’t always done what’s best for my mother, but I do care about her very much and I’m always striving to learn how to support her better.
I’ve learned that when I’m feeling overwhelmed by the situation, to focus on:
- being patient with my mother
- telling my mother that I love her
That seems to go a long way.

If I have more energy, then I do stuff for her.
- vacuuming
- laundry
- grocery shopping
- change her bed linens
- empty garbage bins
- drop off dinner
- encourage her to brush teeth, have a shower, get dressed (or at least get out of bed)

You can’t be expected to do everything for her, but if you show her love and patience, and help out with ANYTHING whenever you can, it does help.

Does she have any neighbours or friends that could help with the dog? Maybe if they are walking their dog, they could also take your mum’s dog out.

Can you look up NAMI (national alliance on mental health) and contact them for advice? They might be able to tell you about some free services that your mother might be entitled to, for help around the home.

If she’s in pain, you could ask the doctor about CBD oil, and whether that might help if it is legal in your area.

Best of luck to you and your family.

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Oh, Three, such a struggle your family has had.

Just remember to be good to yourself, and also remember that you can’t fix everything. Just try your best, that’s all you can do. I take my vitamins daily, try to get as much sleep as possible (I never get enough, rarely over 6 hours a night), and to calm myself down when worry is eating me up.

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thank you you guys

I have had almost 7 yrs of being in denial about my sisters mental health disability

I thought she had. Some strange form of alcoholic delusions…
Alcohol, drug and cigarette and caffeine free and now after quitting 5 months ago now it really is clear to me that she has full blown schizophrenia first episode untreated non compliant 7 years solid crazy

I find it impossible to believe it about my baby sister you know, save her above all else…

3 schizophrenic sisters I say it so much Sorry

The Coronavirus is double the worries

Coronavirus and my husband and I plan to caretake our families from an hour drive apart when town to town quarantine is in place

oldladyblue is right, try not to let the worry eat you up! Wash hands before exiting/entering each place. Keep six feet away from people. Get out for walks and get some sunshine and vitamin D.
Hopefully, with town quarantine in place, you can avoid the coronavirus.
Most people who have COVID-19 say they feel like they have the typical flu, and have a cough, fever, the chills (feeling cold) and body aches. The cough is dry and continuous. In regards to fever, they say: temperature of 37.8C (100F) or more. Most people can deal with that, but if you feel any shortness of breath or labored breathing, that is when you need to contact Telehealth and get advice about going to see a doctor — otherwise, don’t go to hospital or doctor, they can’t do anything for you, better to stay at home and recover in self-isolation.
Also, if you have young children — avoid the use of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil).
And don’t get your news from social media … get it from official credible sources:
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters?fbclid=IwAR1j61OQ-8k1fyxUsR3MGL4TOrPuVeZBVm3_aFX_gRXD0eePccA7Aj6qJjU

I’m truly sorry that your family has such a high burden with schizophrenia. Despite the condition, there are many things you can do to support one another, even during these difficult times. Stay in contact with one another.

When my mother is off her medication, like now, she doesn’t want to go out anyway. So she’s naturally self-isolating. Also, the auditory hallucinations (voices) — are keeping her company, so it’s not all bad. Good luck to you. Take care of yourself. Let us know how you get on.

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Thank you oldladyblue

I’m just coming to terms with the advice

I’ll be staying in my town and rarely go for a dog walk only with my mum or sister, not share air keep 2m apart

The thing is I’m really a good influence to my sister, all hate the atmosphere when it’s just untreated schizophrenia with a 77 year old carer mum
Tired after all these years a bit but she is actually pretty scared

Thanks CanadianDaughter

Yes, more than the usual severe mental health …

recently googled 3 schizophrenic sisters
There were the Bentley sisters living together in Harlem, and elsewhere a set of 4 identical girls all became schizophrenic
They were followed into their 50’s at least

Looks quite rare but no point trying to get famous.

Lol sorry

Yes, not visiting my mum and sister now because my highest risk is my husband who works

she is florid symptom wise but still what I would call not 100% incapable
She can cook, groom mums dog, stay away from the worst arguments that her alcoholism brought us.

She is pretty good taking care of mum -so I have to leave them alone for several months

Unless I become so needed that I have to go and help But not if they have to self isolate

My sister also isolates like your mum

She is only recently hearing persecutary voices
That stuff becomes daily for hours without meds

I’m sorry to hear about your mum, I hope you and your mum keep good health in this crisis

Thank you for this mail, all that time ago.
It’s all just so changeable

Really recognise the psychosis my sister is going through but her self injury was so off the scale I can’t even describe it

But she has also recently become anorexic again. This time with purging.

Lots of water fasts lots of weight loss. Starting to look unwell
Losing weight the same day of a binge because she has figured out vomiting and she gets happy about it

Thank you, three. <3
It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on things.
Someone else posted something helpful on ‘how to respond’, I will look it up.

I’m glad your sister is able to help with your mum during this period of lockdown.

Alcoholism is not fun. I can think of several people that suffer from it.
Just over a year ago, I was really scared for one of our friends living with Alcoholism.
He was in a downward spiral, not eating, always bursting into tears, it was heartbreaking.
However, in 2019 he finally realized that he had to give up alcohol. It wasn’t easy, but he did it.
He’s eating again, back to his usual self, and we are so grateful he was able to turn his life around, and happy for him and his wife. Too often, it does not have a happy ending. Some people are able to go their whole life with it — I guess that would be ‘functioning alcoholic’. But it’s not great for family affected by it, especially if it is alcohol fuelled rage. Eeek.

Thanks for your best wishes for my mom. We take it day by day. Mostly my mom is very independent and looks after herself well.
We simply deliver dinner most days, and I go every two weeks to vacuum, change linens, laundry and grocery shop. But sometimes she’s in a slump and dishes don’t get done, she’s in nightie and robe all day, that sort of thing. Just need to check in with her and give encouragement. I’m sometimes in a slump too, so it’s good not to be hard on yourself or other people.

That is interesting about the sisters. I appreciate your humour, I think we all need to learn to laugh more! :wink:

I read that in identical twins, if one has schizophrenia, the other has a 40% chance of having it also. Identical twins have the same genes, but they get expressed differently. So our environment plays a role. I hope that more research can be done in this area to help people.

You’ve got a really good attitude. I hope you and your husband keep each other positive and make the best of it during our worldwide efforts at social distancing.
It’s always good to hear from you. I’ll look for that document now…

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Oops, sorry — I replied before reading this. That’s very serious behavior.
You may want to call the crisis line and get some advice about your sister harming herself in this way. One of my friend’s daughters almost died from Anorexia.

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hope4us posted: How to Respond Therapeutically to Disturbing Beliefs (link below) Google other articles, also, for tips. Better yet: Enroll in a no cost NAMI Family to Family Class which includes excellent coverage on Communication skills.

(https://testandcalc.com/voices/resources/Responding%20to%20disturbing%20beliefs%20-%20handout.pdf)

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Thank you… I need to remember that stuff all the time. I’m reading I’m not sick I don’t need help

It’s good you say I have a good attitude
I’ve lived with this stuff almost as long as I’ve been alive, my middle sister was suicidal from early years…

God there has just been so much wrong

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How are you doing, three?
Has your sister been eating? I hope so.
Proper nutrition is so important for all of us, and especially if you are dealing with schizophrenia.
The pandemic adds more stress to all our lives.
The only thing we can do these days is grocery shop and be at home and cook, or have meals delivered. So food and nutrition is a good topic to focus on. Hope you are taking good care of yourself. Stay healthy.

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Hi Canadian daughter

Thank you for your post

My sister, I don’t know if she is eating, mum says so little
I’m an hour away and speak to my mum on FaceTime,
Sister is there sometimes
Mum said she is very depressed all the time

I know now she fits the definition for schizoaffective depressive type

It explains her functioning
Depression
Potentially Enduring delusions
Occasionally hears voices
Not good socially
But able to cook, and simple stuff, which I certainly couldn’t when floridly psychotic
She also is totally non compliant
And then every other week or so she becomes elated for no reason
This might not be enough to call it bipolar but it happens
She no longer drinks or smokes
Massive move forwards so I’m hoping more for the future

I hope you are well, how are things going?

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@three that was an excellent summary, and sorry my answer will not be as concise. I’m doing okay, thank you. Yesterday was a bit of a setback because the grocery store we had been going to on a weekly basis, Whole Foods, rearranged their entire store in an effort to make it ‘more safe’ (directive from head office) but the result was I felt “less safe”. We’d been going there even though it’s more expensive, because the aisles were wide and you could more easily enact six foot distancing. They’ve now moved everything so shoppers are forced into narrow channels. I went to the manager to complain, and he shrugged and said there was nothing he could do. I kind of freaked out and said to my husband we had to leave immediately, so we abandoned our cart with a few items in it and left without purchasing anything. We got some stuff later from Sobey’s grocery store, but too many staff and shoppers there are clueless as well, so will not return. We are set for now for food, and I will try something another avenue next week. There’s not an aspect of our lives not affected by the virus these days, it’s like a heavy blanket that we all wear as much as we try and shrug it off.
Your sister is hanging in there, and it sounds as if you have a much better grasp of her particular condition. That will be helpful later if treatment is pursued. In the meantime, giving up the drinking/smoking is definitely progress.
It’s not the same, but one of my friends suffers from bouts of depression, and it improves after a length of time. Not quite sure what exactly lifts her out of it, but I do know that family and friends simply being there for her, and giving her space to be down and not forcing her to do anything about it, is important. One cannot simply ‘snap out of it’.
I’m glad you are using FaceTime. My mother would not let me get her an iPad or tablet, she doesn’t want to have to navigate or push buttons as she calls it — so for Christmas we got her the Google Nest Hub Max with the 10” screen (on sale). I have been using it to video chat with her. For the first time, she initiated a video call to me on Monday. All she has to do is speak the command, but she had been fearful of trying it. It was a good moment when she realized it was easy for her to do. The device also displays photos, which she enjoys. It can do a lot more: play audio books, and tell you the weather and the news, and answer questions. However, video chat is limited to one-on-one, unlike FaceTime where you can have a group chat. No matter, it does help.
I need to get my day organized, sewing more masks for family and friends. It was good to hear from you, please keep in touch. :slight_smile:

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That really made me smile about your mum figuring out technology.

It was pretty Difficult to get my mum to do FaceTime as well… It was like she thought she couldn’t manage it but now he’s so happy
surprised it feels so natural and feels a lot more like close contact compared with the phone

Very happy feelings when something like that works I’m surprised as well I never found it all that great either

Spending a lot of time drawing with charcoal
copying Picasso, Metisse, photos of nudes, Still life and occasionally from the imagination
Our washroom is now a studio, And today was the first rain for the month it all seems to be warping already which is quite worrying. When it was sunny I tried moving everything and just having photocopies, it’s just not a satisfying as seeing the real work, I wish I had felt boards and pins everywhere
and then no washing machine in the room and no rain in the very draughty old washroom
Needs a new roof really and some heat for winter

We considered getting a kitten… But we have two very amazing seven year old male bengals They are a bonded pair so we get a lot of love from them both but they are happier with my husband than me

I think After lockdown it will be hard to get people back out into cafés and shopping malls

I’m quite happy here with my art.

Long rant about me!

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I’m so pleased you have art to distract you from all that’s happening, in a good way!
Don’t know if maybe some Great Stuff Foam spray would help seal the drafts?
I find when I’m sitting working, my feet get cold, so I bought a pair of slippers which have a rubber sole.
The portable oil heaters give a nice radiant heat, but electricity is expensive.
You can probably order felt boards and pins, lol.
Kittens are a lot of work. Be happy with your Bengals. If they leave you alone to work on your art, be grateful. ha ha.
I’m hoping that we’ll all learn we can do with a lot less, and be happy with what we’ve got.
At least the pandemic is good for something, I don’t think I could have got my mother interested in using the video chat on her own, without it. I emailed a friend of hers in Austria, who promptly went to the store to get the staff to load the Duo app on her smartphone, and my mother initiated a video call to her friend today. I just telephone my mother to see how it went. My mother was an hour late calling, because she didn’t see the note that I suggested she leave out for herself as a reminder. :joy::joy: But they had their call, and it was nice for them to catch up.
Enjoy sketching, drawing and painting! I’m back to my sewing for now.

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I meant in the context of what you said about less shopping in the malls! :wink:

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