new york times logo

One of my brothers is moderately schizophrenic; he does well on his medication but is increasingly unable to live alone. He and I are not close and are very different people, but when our mother went into a nursing home several years ago, he came to live with my wife and me. Several other siblings living close declined to take him in.

My brother can’t live alone for a number of reasons, including forgetting to take his meds and not being able to take care of himself or his living quarters. Otherwise, he is a good person, a brilliant artist (that was his career path) and tries hard to be considerate. Schizophrenia is a terrible thief of independence.

my wife simply does not want to live with my brother during retirement. I admire her compassion for agreeing to take him in years ago, but he does require care and patience.

We must find some other arrangement for my brother. My wife speaks relatively lightly of putting him in assisted living. Doing so will decrease his quality of life drastically. Our income has allowed us to help him extensively with everything from dentures to art supplies. He has little except his monthly Social Security check.

Ethically, how responsible am I for my brother? How do I justify making arrangements for him to go into assisted living so I can enjoy the retirement we planned on, knowing that his quality of life will diminish? How do I set aside this strong sense of disappointment in myself?

Read more in the New York Times.

This is an external article from our library

Everyone is talking about caregiving, but it can still be difficult to find meaningful information and real stories that go deep. We read (and listen to and watch and look at) the best content about caregiving and bring you a curated selection.

Have a great story about care work? Use our contact form to submit it to us so we can share it with the community!

Related Articles

manic pixie dream world

manic pixie dream world

Rayne: Eliza, do you consider yourself mentally ill? Eliza: Rayne, at one time, I would have said I am extremely mentally ill. I no longer say that....

Popular categories

After Caregiving
Finding Meaning
Finding Support

Don't see what you're looking for? Search the library

Share your thoughts


Share your thoughts and experiences

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join our communities

Whenever you want to talk, there’s always someone up in one of our Facebook communities.

These private Facebook groups are a space for support and encouragement — or getting it off your chest.

Join our newsletter

Thoughts on care work from Cori, our director, that hit your inbox each Monday morning (more-or-less).

There are no grand solutions, but there are countless little ways to make our lives better.

Share your insights

Caregivers have wisdom and experience to share. Researchers, product developers, and members of the media are eager to understand the nature of care work and make a difference.

We have a group specifically to connect you so we can bring about change.