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Monday, August 18, 2008 weavegirl, Community Member, asks

Q: My son is moving to a group home

I want to know what you think about my son's move to a therapeutic group home.  He is 22, schizoaffective disorder since age 17, and has been living with us.  He's tried going to college, and living on his own in an apartment - neither worked out.  I want him to know how to live independently and to have more social relationships.  My question is whether this is the best thing for him?  Will he get worse there, because of the stress of a new environment, new people, etc.  In the last 6 months he has gained tremendous insight, and is beginning to get the concept of recovery. 

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Answers (4)
Christina Bruni, Health Guide
8/19/08 9:09am

Hello weavegirl,


I understand your concern about your son living in a group home.


Let me give you some ideas as to why I think a good group home could be an option right now in your son's life.


A group home could be the perfect transitional living arrangement before your son moves into his own apartment.


In the fall of 1988, a year after I came home from the hospital, I moved to a halfway house so that I could set goals and learn to function on my own, with the support of the staff, who were called "coordinators" and were psychology students working towards their degrees.


The key is, to find the best group home for your son's needs at this time.


Insight and self-awareness in my humble belief are the two best traits to have when someone is starting out in recovery.  These things will serve your son well as he begins to develop tools and coping skills for living with the schizoaffective.


All told, I spent just under three years in the residential system: first in the halfway house for a year, where I had my own bedroom and shared cooking and cleaning duties with the 16 other residents, and then in an apartment program where I lived with a roommate for a year, and then in supported living, where I lived in an apartment on my own for three months before moving into my own studio near the beach-true independent living.


Today, I live in my own apartment and have done so for 12 years, I have a full-time job with health benefits, and I no longer collect government disability benefits.


So I'm here to say that this is indeed possible.


Most of all, if I were you, I wouldn't rush things, yet I wouldn't expect that residential living necessarily means your son will live in such housing for the rest of his life.


I'm a big fan of people with these diagnoses becoming self-reliant and finding work and living independently to the degree that they can, without relying on the system for the rest of their lives.  That said, some people will benefit from life-long housing options that include staff on hand to assist them.


What I'd do is talk with your son and let him know you'll support him while he lives at the group home and that should he want to consider living on his own again, you will support him in that, too.


Stay in contact with your son and tell him often that you love him and will be there for him.  By all means, visit him at the group home to get a feel for whether the staff are professional and the house is maintained well and your son's goals and needs in recovery are being addressed.  To be a presence in your son's life will show the staff that you care and are on top of things, should it turn out this group home has problems.


Of course, you don't want to be overinvolved and smother your son, either.


Ideally,while your son is at the group home, he will set goals that he can realistically achieve, and once the first goal is obtained, he will work on other goals from there.


Lastly, I suggest your son consider therapy with an empathetic, objective professional. 


Also, the main thing is that he needs to have something to do with his time if he's not working or going to school during the day.  So I suggest a day program,  volunteer work, or if possible a part-time job that falls within the amount he can legally make without jeopardizing his social security disability benefits, if he does collect them.


Right now it's a great time to be in recovery from a mental illness because people diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective have more options than ever before for living happy, healthy, productive, independent lives.


Sometimes it just takes a different route to get there.


I wish you and your son all the best.







Alone, Community Member
11/ 4/09 12:32pm

...and now for the other side; of the proverbial coin. I am so glad that this lady is able to lead an independent life. About 1 or 1000 people have Schizophrenia (which is not Multiple Personality Disorder) and the problem for our family is, it seems most of those affected are only delusional, sometimes.

What happens when you have a severe case, such as my brother. He has had 33 years of tough experiences. Out of a 1 to 10 scale, he is a 10. Lately, he has taken to death threats, phone harassing many people, being tested for DUI; for being off his medication (which he sees no need for) and when he does take his medications and when they are carefully adjusted, they still do not stop the delusions unless he is sleeping.

Not getting schizophrenic meds is a HUGE problem is moderate to sever cases. I am shocked ate the "hands off" approach our authorities have toward  the "freedom" afford severe mentally sick patience. We are now taxed with having to go through a long and arduous court procedure to have him committed (to a good group home). Now that things are getting much worse; at this late date, it is apparent to my whole family that it would have been far better to have committed him to good care, long ago. Our feelings about his poor situation has TAINTED our decision making process, and not allowed us to be as objective, as is needed. How could we not love him , after all.

The problem is, our society now, will do little or nothing unless we do it and we can't do much. There is no checks and balances for how the authorities(police, judges, doctors and hospitals), handle the SEVERELY schizophrenic. The bottom line is (remember this), they WILL NOT do anything (really) unless there job is in jepordy. Mainly, they fear for their job, seat or law suite, if they act at all! That's the current reality is the US, dear sufferers.

This has come about because SOME patience can be helped (God bless them too). But what of the ones; who are barely able to be helped? This has come about because this is the land of the free, and I understand that. This has also come about, due to the guilt; over harsh historical treatment of the Schizophrenic. It is obviously aggravated by the paranoid nature of the schizophrenic; over being committed. yet you have to get it through your head, there is no alternation for some people, but to be watched; because they can not do it themselves. The hope for us (for 33 years) is that he might be independent. It simply is not happening. Now, who will care for the incapable if we don't. Who will keep you kids safe, as my brother passes you, in his car, on the highway. Get this, the police just dropped him off at his home; in hopes that he would go to treatment and he summarily retrieved his car, the very next day. Who? Who will save us from tragedy BEFORE it's too late? It will not be him and his independence. That much is sure.

Look, while the exact cause and reason for schizophrenia is unknown, trained schizophrenic professionals can see patterns. Yet, every case is different and we (the public) need help. We are not getting it. Because their hands are tied.

Therefore it depends. You, the family have to do your own assessment of the severity and if they are severe (and you must be honest or you will regret it) they by all means make sure that a trained, professional group home can tend to their medications, total health care, and to there social development. Just keep in mind, if possible great, but some patience will never "recover" and be "normal". Sometimes. for reasons beyond us, God says no (..and personally I believe that God CAN 100% heal and it would be His desire). In severe cases, you really do not want some grieving mother asking YOU, why did you (the family) not have them committed.

To you, the dear family members, out there. You must make a choice and it is an extremely difficult one. You must be educated and very honest, about what level of severity you loved on suffers. The likely hood of getting worse is a sad reality, for the sever.

With all due respect to the amazingly; recovered, and eloquent writer above, I do not think sufferers of schizophrenia should (by in large) judge, how their care is implemented. It's just common logic and it has been learned, the hard way. This decision also should not ultimately be the distraught families, to make, The reality is, it is ours, AND it's made MUCH harder; by the false belief, that all schizophrenic patience, just get better; independently.

mariilyn, Community Member
1/ 8/13 7:57am

My son has schizoaffective disorder also, he is currently trying to live independently and it is not working out. He was in a group home prior to this but the living conditions were so bad he had to move out and stay with me until he could get into his own apartment.

There are very few options for him in regard to living arrangements in this area of Ohio, I work as a mental health social worker and have exhausted all resources in atempting to help him. He also deals with a seizure disorder, he is legally blind and he has a paralysis of his right arm and hand due to a stroke he had when I was pregnant with him.

He is really in need of a group home setting where he will be able to work on his goals and have the support he needs. I am the only person in the family that has a relationship with him, his brother lives out of state. I am thinking about moving to Oregon where he will have more opportunities, he is linked with a mental health agency, he is med compliant and suffers daily with unrelenting tactiles, his psychiatrist and neurologist say they can't help him with this, he is on 20 pills a day and I fill his med set weekly.There has to be a place for him, I don't know what else to do at this point.Marilyn 

prasun, Community Member
9/27/10 1:33am

Hi All,


My sister is suffering from Schizophrenia and we live in Nepal. Can you suggest the best halfway home in India. We tried in Delhi but most of them had severe patient and older age.

She is 21 years old. Please advice.




dee, Community Member
9/27/10 8:56am

i lived in a halfway house same thing as a group home for a year and at first i hated it because i missed my mom and dad and my luxury at home having barely any responsibility and no one bossing me around but in the group home, well, that's when a new reality set in and i wasn't ready for it. we had chorse twice a week, and had to make our beds daily, do our laundry when necessary, keep our side of the room clean, be at dinner every night, sometimes it was one of our turns to cook it, and we had to do something during the day which was program at a local psychiatric hospital and that was good. i made friends with the people living in the house we were all soooo different but when you're going through something together you can all sudenly relate and i actually in time made good friends with them. we all had our moody days because of adjustments to different medicines or just syptoms of our illnesses rearing it's ugly head but all in all we supported one another. when i left, i felt like i was a new survivor, competent and not enabled by my parents any longer. i knew how to take care of myself. so, please, i strongly reccomend a group home, peace.

dee, Community Member
9/27/10 9:07am

i'm sorry i do not know india. my regrets, i'm in usa.

Jlauree, Community Member
10/15/10 5:49pm

My son is 26 and I think would benefit from a group home, but I cant find any. We are in Texas but willing too go anywhere. How can I find one????

elizabeth, Community Member
2/16/11 10:12am

I have a 22 year old son, and I am facing the same problem.  Did you have any luck in your search for a group home?

weavegirl, Community Member
4/14/11 12:35pm

Can't believe this - when I first posted my question in 2008, it did not work out for my son to move to the group home.  He has been with us for the last 3 years, and is now 25.  Now, he is really moving - we have a move in date for him of April 29th.  My husband and I are sort of in shock!  It seems to be a very well run, and nice home, with 6 residents only, and it is right in the small town we live in.  It is run by Easter Seals.  He is more mature now, and we all feel this is a good time for this move.  He is very isolated where we live (semi-rural) and has no friends or activities outside of the home.  He is very capable and does a great deal of work on our property and helping my husband in his furniture making business.  We are very hopeful that the group home will assist him in exploring his talents, and in broadening his horizons in the community. 


angela, Community Member
6/ 5/12 12:43pm

Hi Dee,

I have a brother who is need of a group home like you mention above.  Do you have a name of that facility or any one similar?  We are in desperate need!  


pearlgirl, Community Member
12/28/11 7:49am

I read that you had in April your son moving out and subsequent to the first posting he ended up living with you for three more years- how is it going? would it be rude to ask why you waited three more years? OUr son has been diagnosed a year and a half ago and he is very up and down, struggling with the medication and getting the right dosage. I feel that he needs to get out and learn life skills etc before he completely becomes a vegetable hiding in his room so I want to get him into a group home as soon as possible.

Best wishes to you all.

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By weavegirl, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/23/14, First Published: 08/18/08