Question

Sorry if that question was worded weird, couldn't think of any other way to title it.  Anyhoo...

As some of you know, I've been caring for my mentally ill friend.  I've known him 20 years, he started showing signs of mental illness when we were 18, and as the years have gone by, he's become less and less able to care for himself, and is no longer able to make sound decisions.  I do what I can, feed him, house him, remind him to take his meds, tell him to shower or to use the restroom, make sure he goes to the doctor, talk him through his strange fixations and delusions, etc. 

This past year he's gone downhill pretty fast, and I know there may come a day when I won't be able to care for him by myself any longer.  I've talked to him about assisted living situations, but he refuses to even consider it, feels it's too intrusive to him.  He says he wants to live with me forever.  I've also suggested finding a nice girl to take care of him, but he's completely fixated on looks and sex when it comes to women; not that he gets a lot of women, he hasn't dated anyone in years.  He won't even consider a "fat" or "ugly" woman, no matter how sweet she is.  His family isn't much help, and haven't been for some time.  They do help us out with food and toilet paper sometimes, but that's pretty much the end of it.

So, does anyone know of any other options for his living/care?  Or, how can I convince him that assisted living isn't the end of the world? 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

7 answers to this question

  • 0

I guess this depends on how bad it is, but I'm currently part of a semi-assisted living program. I have health issues, both physical and mental, but I can take care of myself...for the most part. Kinda. so what I have isn't living with a worker or anybody, more like someone who lives nearby checks in like 3 times a week on me and assists me with anything and everything I've been having issue with in that time, she'd never be over for more than an hour or two during said visits as well.

If he doesn't mind a visitor who will just pop in a couple times of the week that is basically a part time helper maybe something like this? Just comes in, "hey do you need help with your prescriptions or budgeting your next grocery list or anything? cleaning? forget how to cook a steak? no? kay see you next week"

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

 

4 hours ago, KozmoFox said:

I guess this depends on how bad it is, but I'm currently part of a semi-assisted living program. I have health issues, both physical and mental, but I can take care of myself...for the most part. Kinda. so what I have isn't living with a worker or anybody, more like someone who lives nearby checks in like 3 times a week on me and assists me with anything and everything I've been having issue with in that time, she'd never be over for more than an hour or two during said visits as well.

If he doesn't mind a visitor who will just pop in a couple times of the week that is basically a part time helper maybe something like this? Just comes in, "hey do you need help with your prescriptions or budgeting your next grocery list or anything? cleaning? forget how to cook a steak? no? kay see you next week"

Thank you for your help :)

Unless something changes, he'll need someone every day.  He needs someone every day now, to make sure he takes his meds on time (I set alarms on his phone, but sometimes he ignores them, and misses his afternoon dose; that's when I'm at work, so I can't be on his ass about it).  He's good about taking the night time ones, but he often lets them run out, and misses doses of this pill or that. I'll admit I didn't think of part-time help, like Comfort Keepers, because I'm not sure he'll be able to afford it.  His disability case is pending, he's been applying for the past 15 years, but due to him getting worse, we submitted the fast track paperwork and we should know something in 2-8 months (yeah, that's quite a big window). 

A big problem, I think, is his medication.  I don't think he talks to his psychiatrist about it the right way, or at all.  Time to start going to his appointments, too, I guess.  I don't know if he's on too much, too little, the wrong meds, or the cocktail of them all isn't helping, but hampering.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I stayed in a dwelling for three years with different disabilities. There were people with autism and Asperger autism, but also people who were paraplegic. But there where also persons with schizophrenia and delusions. I had a lot of fun with these, but it was sometimes very hard and tiring. What I took of it was no matter what others had thought about them. They are as they are. I took care of them as best as I could. I think that they had to be included as best as they could, they all have an individual personality and an individual sexuality. I had an relationship with an autistic, I have paid much attention to his needs. He was absolutely into Omo and wetting, he was also an exhibitionist, which is not always been funny. One day I get a call that I should pick him up from a supermarket because he masturbates in public. When I ask him what he did, he asks me what is wrong?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I grew up with someone with a mental illness and it's hard. I'm young so I can't offer the advice you'd like but ask yourself this. 15 years down the road what regrets will you have? It's one thing to take care of, it's another thing to babysit and let it consume your life. you didn't mention wanting to stop. odds are you don't want to stop and you won't have to. but 15 years from now will you regret not getting help? maybe it's not quite the answer you were looking for but I hope I helped some 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I totally agree with ArcticVortex, my autistic ex-friend had an household help, and of course he had his psychiatrist and his medication. It was clear from the beginning that I can´t help him all the time, so he needs additional help. Also, this was the requirement for an "normal" relationship, if there is anything like a normal relationship. But even then it was sometime very frustrating for him, because he think that he exploit me. Today he lives in an assisted living program, and that is good for him. He needs very clear structures, which I could not always offer him. He made the decision alone after we had parted, but he needed some time for it. At some point, he himself noticed that he was not alone.

It is very difficult to assess your situation, as mental diseases have a very wide range, and possible help varies from country to country. But from what I read I think that on duration there is no alternative to assisted living or professional care. As bad as a disease is, sometimes you have to think about yourself. He is certainly not better when you get sick, since you can not take care of him any more. But changes are often difficult for mentally ill people. Is there any counseling office or clinic where you can get information or help?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

@naughty_lucy420you are in a very difficult situation. I have two 1¢ to add. I lived with a spouse who suffered bouts of suicidal depression. I did what I could but I never hesitated to call for help, and there were many midnight ambulance trips to the ER followed by weeks of hospitalization. Her meds were a problem. Her favorite way to attempt suicide was to take a month or more of a med at one time. I had to hide her meds and be certain there weren't any OTC meds such as Tylenol anywhere in the house. This is the same woman who left me because I suffered a spinal cord injury that made diapers my 24/7/365 underwear.

Wisconsin has a Department of Rehbilitation Services (DORS). Is that program still intact? If so they might be able to provide someone to stay with him during the hours you work. It could be very helpful to go with him to his psychiatrist at least once in while, and gently urge him to discuss his meds during the visits.

Because I am old, disabled and live alone I have state provided Department of Aging assistance for 18 hours a week. The helpers are for the most part young women often with young children, sometimes single moms. The good ones are incredibly helpful with activities of daily living (in my case light housekeeping, laundry, transferring for bathing, dressing, shopping). They do not and are mandated to not manage meds for me but they are allowed to pick up scripts for me, at least for the non-controlled substance meds.

My other 1¢ concerns assisted living facilities. In one word, NO. From a legal perspective they are not nursing homes so they are not covered by those regulations. They are not long term care facilities so they are not covered by those regulations. they are certainly not hospitals so they are not covered by those regulations. A couple of year ago the PBS series Frontline did a program entitled Death in Assisted Living. I spent about 5 months in one of those places and I will never go back to such a place. Among other things I went in with a clean bill of health (for a paraplegic) and came out with severe iron, vitamin B12 deficient anemia and possibly hepatitis B; certainly some kind of liver inflammation. I was part of the 80% who caught the badly misnamed stomach flu, the one that forces cruise ships back into port. One night while I was showering (I was paying to have someone assist me but the staff decided I didn't need help once I was in the shower, until I was done and needed assistance with getting in bed for the night and at the same time dressed for the next day) I dropped the soap. I reached over to pick it up and fell. I dragged myself to the call pull cord and 45 minutes later they came to get me up. I suffered internal injures that required CT scans and 6 hours in the MRI.  I was also treated, as were all other inmates, with a complete lack of respect by the staff (with a few notable exceptions). Every morning they got everyone out of bed at 6 AM and lined up outside the nurse's station for meds. I was at least allowed to manage my own meds but I was required to keep them locked up. Your friend would not do at all well in such an environment. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I'm bipolar, persistent depressive, and unspecified cognitive disorder. I used to be self destructive, short sighted, irrational, hallucinations, delusions of both grandeur and doom, seizures of all sorts, in fact I got about 15 pages a voc rehab neurocognitive examiner wrote up on me.

 

What changed? Well I got myself bakeracted, faked a suicide attempt by eating a near fatal dose of antihistamine and doing some 'exorcist' kinda writhing and bugging out in the back of an ambulance, I really do not recommend this, I harbor what might be a delusion that my body is exceptional at kicking poisons. Got hooked back up with the mental health system and got on Depakote (which I got to bring up again in a bit). You don't feel anything, but the shit smooths bipolar people out, gets rid of the seizures, and makes most of us more mentally sound.

 

I told my therapist I got to be some kind of retard, because I can't get work, all the phonecalls, and the paperwork, and the social obligations is too much when I've seen little evidence of what works and what doesn't. She hooked me up with vocational rehabilitation.

 

Voc rehab is sending me to school, I'm chilled out on valproic acid daily, and after they did a neurocognitive exam I used the paperwork to push for a cognitive enhancer. So now I take Donepezil (Alziemers medication) to assist with the brain fog of being a drug treated epileptic cognitive disorder bipolar. Now I'm sharp as a photon.

 

About the drugs I was mentioning ealier their is a wide range of effective treatments for all sorts of disorders in all sorts of people, but there is huge barriers in the way.

  • Lack of medical care (I'm lucky I can afford generic depakote and donezepil, and had to fake suicide to get that far)
  • Uneducated doctors (I come to my doctors with self written research, thankfully I'm a drug enthusiast)
  • Companies pushing away from sound and tested medication for financial interest.
  • People refusing to take medication because of petty side effects (which often go away), obstinance  and ignorance.
  • The kicker that infuriates me the most, because it interferes with not only personal well being, but the perception and application of medicine as a whole: People refusing to take medication because it doesn't 'get them high' or make them feel 'groovy', either because they're asinine enough to abuse the medical system this way, or because they think if they're not 'doped up' the drug isn't working.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now