Lamps in my brother’s apartment are always on it seems. Morning or afternoon. Rain or shine. Blazing away. Two of them. Another behavior: when out in public, my brother (in his 60s, diagnosed decades ago) has a habit of stopping, then staring at and moving his left pointer finger in certain ways and pausing at different bend positions, as if he has attached thoughts to each motion, almost like a rosary chain. I bring up these two examples (of so many) of things that seem strange…but when I look at them from his point of view, I can imagine there are reasons. Lights? He needs encouragement and brightness. The finger thing: a way to center himself during stress that is free and always available.
The bathroom issues you deal with, he doesn’t have–but then he went through a near-eviction about five years ago (bed bugs in an old building) and it scared him or maybe my mom’s and my hysterical reactions scared him, so whatever I tell him to do now to stay “warm in winter, cool in summer” he will try to do, emphasis on try. The years when he should have been solidifying basic hygiene habits (teens and 20s) were when he was living on the streets, taking drugs and nearly losing his mind from mental illness onslaught. These days, I feel at times like I am trying to teach a young boy how to clean. I see incremental improvements, though, so it can be done, but I’m no Pollyanna about it, either. It’s not rosy. I used to cry after time in his apartment. I don’t any more. It’s better.
It has been decided he does not sleep on a bed so sheets are a moot point. He uses an army cot, canvas, surface is washable. It’s not something I would do, but if I have to buy him a new one every couple of years–I’m pricing them out now–that is what I call a solution.
He is pretty med compliant these days. I hope your brother changes and you’re not permanently sad about him. It’s so hard though. My thoughts are with you.