Schizophrenia can affect a person's lifestyle, including their social and financial position, in a variety of ways. The psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia and the disruption they can cause to an individual's daily life are obvious, but often their physical health can also be affected. The goals of treatment and recovery are to reduce or stop symptoms to enable the individual to engage in daily activities and reduce the number of relapses. With the help of antipsychotic medication and other therapies, the symptoms of schizophrenia can often be managed to an extent that will allow people with schizophrenia to return to their daily activities. There are many steps that people with schizophrenia can take to help improve their overall well-being.
Physical health and well being...
Physical health and well-beingPeople who experience schizophrenia may suffer consequences in the form of lifestyle changes, such as higher levels of smoking, which can lead to serious physical health complications including cardiovascular difficulties, respiratory disease and a general increase in infections. These problems may be made worse if the person consumes high levels of alcohol, is involved in illegal drug use, has a poor diet, takes little exercise, has poor self-care and personal hygiene, and poor quality accommodation. The changes to lifestyle and the side-effects of medication can lead to people with schizophrenia gaining weight, resulting in problems associated with obesity.
Obesity itself can have a major impact on physical health, such as an increased risk of heart disease or diabetes. Therefore, it is recommended that someone with schizophrenia should have an annual physical check up. They may also need support from a dietician, drug and alcohol services, chiropody, dentistry and other general health-promotion information.
Through good health and social care support it is possible for the physical risks associated with schizophrenia, including the side-effects of treatments and lifestyle changes, to be reduced.
In Addition....Getting Better includes
Your Child’s Illness Vs. My Child’s Illness—a Tale of Medical Parity
Your child's illness gets 500, 000 likes on Facebook when you post a picture or ask for prayers
My child's illness gets about 5, from people who already know us and know of our struggle
Your child's illness gets copious amounts of Tax Dollars to fund more research for cures; your child's illness has a congressionally approved budget
My child's illness gets funds Cut by 25-40% due to the sequester, or whenever social services are on the chopping block, which is nearly every single time a budget is passed
Your child's illness gets the sympathy of complete Strangers, world wide
My child's illness gets labeled by people in the press every day: psycho, headcase, lunatic, maniac, nutjob, monster, freeloader
Your child's illness gets insurance coverage so he can actually get well
My child's illness gets 30 days coverage per year, Max, with an average inpatient stay of 11 days, with no social workers, therapists, or psychiatric coverage
Your child gets after care support, medically, socially, economically
My child's illness is left to the charity of Dot.Orgs, with programs we don't qualify for due to income or non-compliance with medication
Your child's illness gets treated in the ER, and quickly
My child's illness gets ignored in the ER for an average of 24 to 30 hours before he's seen
Your child's illness has specialists trained in care, both inpatient, and afterward
My child's illness has policemen to handle it, who know nothing about appropriate care
Your child gets a diagnosis through medical means and exhaustive testing
My child's illness is diagnosed through Symptomology, depending what he does that day in front of a doctor, and gets re-diagnosed multiple times
Your child's illness has a typically standardized treatment plan and medical path forward to health, even with rare conditions
My child's illness is a quagmire of trial and error with medicine until you hit a combo that works: average is 10 different medications over 3 to 5 years
Your child's illness, unless terminal, is aggressively treated due to a high expectation of recovery and health
My child's illness has an overall low expectation for recovery and he's relegated to a back ward and warehoused, if there's even a spot available
Your child's illness gets everything that can possibly be done medically to alleviate symptoms or put the disease into remission
My child's stabilization period is 10 years. TEN.
Your child's illness gets fundraisers that people gladly attend and give to, generously
My child's illness bankrupts almost every family, with Self-pay services, and no fund raisers
Your child's illness has medical records that are robust and shared with cooperating and follow-on hospitals and doctors
My child's illness has medical records caregivers are banned from seeing, which never follow the child to the next medical facility or ER
Your child's illness is a medical tragedy
My child's illness is a "social problem"
Your child's illness is treated in hospitals, with the full attention of caring staff
My child's illness is treated in JAIL, in solitary confinement, often without medicine
Your child's illness is a family heartbreak story
My child's illness requires a standard of dangerousness be met before anyone is allowed to intervene, and when he does meet the standard, it's often too late
Your child's illness is never a legal dispute or legal issue: it's scientifically and medically verified
My child's illness requires laws be passed, that are then not funded or implemented, just to get him to life-saving measures
Your child's illness is acknowledged as a medical condition
My child's illness is a labeled bad behavior and parents get the blame
Your child's illness is considered a medical disability on its face
My child's illness requires lawyers to apply for disability, with an average number of 9 applications before approval
Your child's illness, when very active or critical, is immediately treated as an emergency and forwarded to a specialist for follow on care
My child's illness, when very active or critical, gets him, at best, a 72 hour hold, then he's released to the streets with a recommendation for follow on treatment and no medicine
Your child's illness is afforded the cooperation of caregivers and parents to attend to it
My child's illness is left to the Right to Refuse Care Laws, leaving him to get as sick as he can possibly be, and choose suicide, death, starvation, continued illness with severe brain damage
Your child is never arrested or jailed because he's sick
My child is almost always arrested at some point
Your child's illness is comforted by those who love him, and you are, too
My child's illness means friends drop us, family turns away, and jobs are lost
Your child's illness indicates the need for family involvement and care
My child's illness indicates the need for family involvement, but we're excluded unless he signs waivers, which he often too sick to do
Your child's illness, if you did not treat it, would mean a criminal charge against you for neglect and child welfare agencies would remove him from your care
My child can't be brought to treatment unless he chooses it, when he's incapacitated cognitively, and he can die at the hand of policemen, be shot at, hang himself or kill someone else, and we are never considered neglectful because He made those choices
Your child's illness means he's helpless and needs attention, and he gets it
My child is expected to pick himself up by his bootstraps and Try Harder
Your child can have any bed in any hospital in the country, across the board
My child can ONLY have a psychiatric bed, and there's an estimated deficit of 100, 000 beds in this country, and the wait for one can take 6 months or longer in some places
It's encouraged to ask about your child's illness and progress and sympathize with your plight and ask what help they can offer
No one ever asks about mine, and when they do, I get low-brow, upsetting questions like: How many personalities does he have? Do you let him have a gun?
Your child can tell people he's sick. My child cannot, or he won't get a job, or a date, or an apartment. Your child can get a fun trip sponsored by an organization that assists sick children.
My child can't go on any trips, usually, and neither can his family...
Your child is not homeless. Your child is not incarcerated for years. Your child is not maligned in general by society. Your child's illness is not romanticized or mythologized with ideas like "Madness is Genius." Your child’s illness is not part of the Gun Control debate. Your child is not automatically part of the legal system. Your child does not have a Preventable Tragedies national database. Your child is not a throwaway. Mine is all of these things.
Your child got sick through no fault of his own. So did mine.
By Ami Albernaz GLOBE CORRESPONDENT SEPTEMBER 07, 2015
The value of care provided, unpaid, by family caregivers in 2013 rivaled Walmart’s sales that year, according a recent AARP Public Policy Institute report. The total value of these contributions — $470 billion — reflects approximately 37 billion hours of care, and was more than total Medicaid spending that year.
Some 40 million caregivers provided an average of 18 hours of support a week to parents, spouses, partners, and other loved ones with limitations in daily activities. A rate of $12.51 — the average estimated value of an hour of family care in the US — was used to calculate the total cost.
While these unpaid contributions are vital to reducing strain on state-funded and paid long-term services and supports, providing this care can come at a considerable cost to caregivers, the report noted. Along with struggling to balance caregiving with full- or part-time work and other family obligations, many take on demanding and complex tasks that they may be unprepared for, such as managing medications, giving injections, and operating medical equipment.
“You’ve got people who really aren’t trained engaging in critical, higher-risk activities to be helpful,” said Mike Festa, AARP state director. “While this may be satisfying and reaffirming, since caregivers help out of love, it can also be overwhelming and emotionally draining.”
Sixty percent of family caregivers work either full- or part-time jobs, the report noted. Juggling work with caregiving and other responsibilities leads some caregivers to cut back their work hours, quit their jobs, or retire early, particularly if they cannot afford to pay for outside help. A 2011 MetLife study found that caregivers age 50 and older who leave the workforce to care for a parent lose an average of $303,880 in income and benefits over their lifetime. Nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) of caregivers report a moderate to high degree of financial strain, according to the AARP report.
In Massachusetts, around 844,000 family caregivers provided an estimated $11.6 billion in unpaid services in 2013. Most seniors who receive assistance at home rely exclusively on family caregivers, according to AARP Massachusetts.
The Commonwealth is one of 29 states and territories to have introduced the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act in state legislatures this year. Among the provisions of the act, hospitals would be required to instruct family caregivers on medical tasks like medication management, wound care, and administering injections that they would need to perform at home.
Other legislation that could help caregivers in Massachusetts includes a bill that would allow spouses to become paid personal care attendants. Currently, a MassHealth Personal Care Attendant Program allows friends, neighbors, and most family members to be paid for caregiving services, but not spouses. Legislation that would have changed this died in the House Ways and Means Committee last year. It was reintroduced this year and is still pending in the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons With Disabilities, Festa said.
“Paying spouses for caregiving services could reduce a lot of strain,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense not to pay spouses for these services, because many are cutting back on their work hours, which can make things difficult for these families.”
Ami Albernaz can be reached at email@example.com.
Please read this Thank You letter from Racquel: This is why we give.
Dear Parents for Care,
Being the primary caregiver to two loved ones with SPMI has many challenges.
One very hard reality is living within a restrictive disability budget. We creatively persevere, but just one unanticipated, seemingly "small change" (sudden decrease of income) has had huge ripple affects.
We were desperate to purchase must needed prescription medications and we heard of your organization and applied for a grant.
A Parent's for Care grant for 600$ allowed us to obtain all of the needed prescriptions! We are all so very grateful! (Just writing this brings tears to my eyes.)
Knowing that Parent's for Care is not only an emergency resource, but also a support, encourages my heart to push on and to continue to advocate for my loved ones. Your acceptance and support is a safe place for me and my loved ones to stop and catch our breath. Your support has ripple affects that you may never fully comprehend.
Thank you so very much!
Donna Thomson, author of The Four Walls of My Freedom and blogger for The Caregivers’ Living Room
A stooped and white haired doctor touched my shoulder and gently asked “Has anyone spoken to you about your son’s development?”
In that moment, in a hospital emergency room long ago, I turned from being a new mother into a lifelong caregiver. My baby was only three months old and was seriously dehydrated. I assumed that Nicholas’ myriad of symptoms including endless crying and an inability to properly suck and swallow were due to his premature birth. That day, I remember hoping the word ‘development’ meant my baby’s length and weight. At the time, I couldn’t bear to grasp the true meaning of the doctor’s question: whether anyone had told us that our son had cerebral palsy and possibly a cognitive disability as well.
Throughout the years of our son’s life, the identity of caregiver has pulled and pushed me like tides ebbing and flowing.
Although I denied knowing what ‘development’ meant to the ER doctor, I didknow. I just didn’t want to admit it to him, or to myself. But later at home, a sense of dread infused my days and nights. So a month later, when another doctor confirmed Nick’s diagnosis of severe cerebral palsy, I felt relieved.
Naming our shared enemy put my baby and me on the same team. Now, I was a caregiver on the warpath. Nicholas was my first child and I had the natural optimism of a fairly well educated girl who always worked hard to be on the honor roll.
In those early days, I believed that the power of my love, my reason and my will could cure my son.
Nicholas was quickly assessed at our local children’s treatment center and we began a rigorous regime of physical, occupational and speech therapies. I discovered ‘Conductive Education’ and we added that to our program too. We had a visiting infant stimulation expert at home and swimming and music lessons for babies with disabilities at a local community center. After a couple of years, I collapsed. One day, I was describing our daily routine to a friend. I suddenly asked myself, “What am I doing? Nicholas is a child and I am his mother! He is not my project, he’s my baby!” Tears welled in my eyes and I turned away from my friend, hugging Nick tighter. I vowed to change our family life and our therapy goals. To do that, I would need to be more of a mother and less of caregiver.
My roles as caregiver and mother became less at odds and more integrated as I advocated for Nick’s needs over the years. I learned to put those different hats on when required, and sometimes, both hats at the same time. When I advocated to local authorities for help at home, I used my expertise in caregiving as a counter-balance to a declaration of love for my son. Presenting in too clinical or too emotional a manner wouldn’t have yielded the results we needed and it wouldn’t have reflected the truth about our lives.
Nicholas is 25 years old now.
Although he’s largely bed-ridden due to chronic pain, he is a blogger, sports journalist, and self-described ‘sports media analyst’. Nick lives in a care home near us and we visit him often. Skype technology has allowed my husband and I to take month long holidays without too much homesickness on anyone’s part.
I never abandoned my role as Nick’s caregiver and I never will. I just put it in perspective. Although Nick never overcame the effects of his disability, I am always his Mom first and he will always be my treasure.