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My mother suffers from schizophrenia and has suffered most...

3 answers | Last updated: May 27, 2014
An anonymous caregiver asked...

Caring.com User - Maria Basso Lipani
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Being a caregiver for a parent with schizophrenia is especially challenging for all the reasons you shared. It can be considerably harder when that parent isn't taking medications and, based See also:
Can an alcoholic get declared incompetent?
on your description of your mom, it doesn't sound to me like she is doing so.

I am in agreement with you and think that it's time to explore whether your mom would meet the criteria for having a guardian/conservator (i.e. someone to manage her financial and medical affairs). However, this usually requires a psychiatrist's evaluation and I am assuming she would be opposed. If that is correct, I would suggest the following two steps:

1)Put everything that you've shared in your question here about your mom's behavior and your concerns in writing and send it via fax to each of her doctors and keep a record. This is valuable information and they should act on it.

Many times family members feel powerless because their loved one doesn't want the communication to take place and there is much to be said for respecting those boundaries in situations where there is no risk to a person's health and/or well-being. However, in your mom's case just the opposite is true and I think that it's necessary for you to intervene. Remember that the doctor(s) may not feel comfortable sharing information with you about your mom because of the HIPAA law, but there is nothing to stop you from sharing information with them.

I would do this soon and indicate your interest in having her competency evaluated, then see what response you get. He or she may be willing to make a referral to a psychiatrist and if you're lucky, maybe even work with you on how to roll this out to your mom (i.e. perhaps the doctor would be willing to leave you out of it entirely and say that it is his/her idea for X reason). If your mom trusts this person, this may work. If you don't get a response from her doctor(s)or the response is not sufficient, I would suggest proceeding to step #2.

2) Call Adult Protective Services [APS] in your mother's home town. This can be an anonymous call if you'd like, but most important is again that you share your concerns and the behaviors you're seeing as well as her diagnosis. In some states, APS is able to send a psychiatrist to the home to evaluate competency and if she were to be declared incompetent, the agency would start the process of guardianship/conservatorship then. My fingers will be crossed that your mom's state is one of those, but you won't know until you ask.

Beyond these suggestions for your mom, I think a support group for you may be a very helpful thing to find. One thing I can promise you is that you're not the only daughter caring for a mentally ill mother; support does exist. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a great resource for this. Their web address is: www.nami.org.

All the best.


More Answers
Sunshine4You answered...

My youngest sister suffers from mental illness. She now has a conservator (our father) and she resides in a long term mental health facility after a year of going in and out of various mental health units. She attempted suicide 6 times last year before her social worker was able to get the court system in CA involved and she finally agreed to live in a facility where there were on-site social workers, psychiatrists, and nursing care. I haven't seen her in many weeks although I have phoned her and left several messages. I have done my best to reach out toward her. I hope your situation with your mother improves soon.


An anonymous caregiver answered...

I hope you resolve this, I am going through an ordeal with my mother that's is much more escalated than I would like, beginning about 25 years ago my father institutionalized my mother, three different times, I was in my late teens then the last two times she stopped her meds after the third time she figured if she quit her meds he would send her back, he had a handle on it. my father died, my brother still lived there and I know she had episodes he just didn't tell me. Then he died, now its me. She doesn't like me, never did, this is no joke. I don't think she should have ever had kids in the first place because she cpuldnt handle it. I spent my late teenage years wanting out of that house, she was evil, the more she did strange stuff, the more rebellious I became, as I look back even as a small child, my mother was not like other parents, though she controlled it well, I knew something wasn't right, I admit I was not the best child in the world, but I never did half the stuff she accused me of, hence, that was part of her illness, I didn't know. And because of that, she hates me and will express that openly, I worry. She now looks at me wild eyed when I checked on her yesterday, she thinks me and my kids plot against her, she talks some crazy stuff, makes no sense, and she told me to get out, dropped her head in a sleepy state mumbling something, then asked me where my deceased brother was, then said something like "you act so sweet' sarcasticly, then asked who I was. She cannot stand me and seeing me makes her worse. So I'm staying away, I cannot deal with this, this isn't like one of my patients, I can handle them. But the stress of this is now causing me to have chest pains, and anxiety and I have a family and bills, I do not know what to do, two weeks ago she was fine, a little off the wall but nothing like this. I have put this in gods hands before I wind up dying on account of the stress


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