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Caregiver and Schizophrenia:
How to Handle the Psychosis

(Page 3 of 3)

Try to encourage them gently, never forcefully, to be a part of social gatherings when appropriate. Keep gatherings small and intimate, with one or two relatives or friends over for dinner instead of an all-day affair with the entire clan, like a wedding or family picnic; this may cause frustration and stress, helping to set the stage for another episode. Always discuss your plans with them, and suggest going on an outing once a week, like a drive or a walk in the country; go somewhere peaceful and quite, not hectic and noisy like a city. If you want to take them out to eat, find a nice, small restaurant and go during the least busy part of the day. Donít ask too many questions, like, "What are you thinking about?Ē or ďWhy are you doing that?" Talk about outside events that arenít too emotional, perhaps discussing a movie or Television program, instead of world affairs and politics. Know too, that it may be difficult for them to talk about anything, but that they still enjoy your company. In this case, consider watching television, listening to music, playing cards, or even reading to them. Begin to encourage them to take some responsibility, such as leaving them instructions about starting dinner in case youíre going to be late getting home that night. Help them learn how to deal with the stress of being out among society by suggesting that they accompany you to a washroom if they begin to feel panicky in a public place, until the feeling passes.

Remember that family caregivers are often times the only friends a loved one has, so try to be a friend as well, by inviting them to come with you when you do different things, but never force them to have to go. Last, but not least, always respect your loved oneís concerns about their illness. If they ask you not to share the nature of their disease with other family members or friends, then donít, even if you feel you have a lot of experience that may help other caregivers going through the same thing. Respect, patience, compassion and gentleness will go a long way to help you both take control of the disease, and begin living life to its fullest again.


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