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Skills of Independent Living

If your relative moves away from home, she must be able to complete specific tasks
required for living more independently, depending on what is provided in her new
housing.many people with schizophrenia who live with relative already do chores regularly
and contribute to the running of the household. For example, rudy lives with his sister and
routinely does his own laundry and helps with prepareing meals. He is very knowledgeable
abour the public transportation system and goes everywhere on tehe bus. Other people with
schizophrenia who live at home lack some important skills for independent living, however.
Eugene, for example, lives with his parents and is responsible only making his ber and
preparing his own snacks while watching television. He depens on his parents to manage his
money and for shopping, cleaning, preparing eals, laundry, and transportation. Worksheet
27.1 at the end of the chapter will help you and your relative evaluate how much assistance
she currently needs in performing tasks. Completing the checklist will give your elative
useful information for selecting skills to work on so that she can be more self- sufficient in
the future.

The more self-sufficient your relative is, the more housing options he will have. Just
as important , improving independent living skills will help increase your relatives
confidence and self- esteem and will often lead to improvements in relationships and work
opportunities. Feeling independent in as many areas as possible

is important to your

relatives quality of life, whether he lives at home or elsewhere.

Breaking down skills into steps
Once you and your relative have identified the skills that she needs to strengthen,
focus on one or two at a time. Tackling everything at once can be overwhelming, not to
mention frustrating. By breaking down each skill into smaller steps , you can help your
relative learn many skills. The table on pages 412- 4-13 list common independent iving skills
and the core steps of each.
Broaching the subject of improving living and self- care skills
Some families are hesitant to talk with their relative about his living skills. You may
be concerned that your relative will be embarrassed or angered by topic and will resist your

efforts. When broaching the subject, avoid being judgmental or critical. Instead, let your
relative know that you understand how difficult it can be to perform particular tasks on a
regular basis. Then point out how attending to a specific skill can be important to achieving
some of his personal goals. Such as living more independently, making friens, or having a
girlfriend. Finally, offer to help your relative make a plan to work on a particular skill. The
following vignette shows how one mother approached her son about his personal hygine.
Mother: mike, Ive noticed that sometimes it sees to be a little hard for you to brush our teeth
and take shower.
Mike: yeah. Sometimes I forget.
Mother: I can understand that it might be hard to remember to do some of those thing.
Mike: sometimes I just dont wantto do it.
Mother: I can see how that might be tough. On the other hand , taking care of your hygine
can be important for making friends.
Mike: I guess so.
Mother: youve told me that youd like to have closer friends. How about if I give you a hand
in helping you improve soe of these areas of personal hygine? It might help you in making
Mike: okay , Ill give it atry.

Preparing meals

Steps of Independent Living and Self- Care Skills

Making and keeping appointment

Using microwave to heat meals

Preparing breakfast
Preparing sandwiches and other cold

Calling the doctors office

Identifying self and the reason for

Using stovetop for boiling and frying
Using oven for baking
Knowing how to prepare some

Finding out if a referral or an

standby mels, such as macaroni and

cheese, hot dogs, beans and rice, etc.

insurance card is required at the

Writing down the appointment o a

calendar or in an appointment book

Checking a calendar or book

regularly for dates af appointment

Planning transportation
Writing down a list of concerns or

questions to raise at the visit

Goint to appointment

Cleaning the kitchen

Washing dishes
Wiping off the stove and counters
Weeping floor
Washing the floor
Scrubbing the sink

Cleaning the living and sleeping areas

straightening up
changing the sheets
Taking out the garbage

Meaningful activities

thet one cn enjoy by oneself(e.g,

reading, puzzles, running. Knitting)

Prticipatng in work or activities that
one can enjoy with other (e.g, drop in


Participating in activities or hobbies

Keeping dirty laundr in a hamper/

center, clubs, sports)

Participating in employment

volunteer work
laundry bag/ basket
Going to laundromart( if no washing Grooming and hygine
machine in apartment)
Bathing or showering
Loading the washing machine and
Washing hair

adding detergent
Operating wshing machine (choosing

the correct temperature and cycle)

Operating dryer( cleaning the lint







Applying deodorant
Brushing and flossing teeth
Combing hair
Wearing clean chlothes appropriate to

the season
Trimming nails

Folding and putting away clean


For men, shaving or trimming beard

Shopping for groceries

Shopping fo chlothing

Deciding which clothing should be

purchased for the seson

Selecting stores appropriate for ones

Going to the store
Trying on items to make sure they fit
Staying within budget

Making a list
Going to the store
Locating grocery items
Staying within budget
Comparison shoping to get the most

economical product
Putting grociries away

Safety at home and on the streets

Cleaning the bathroom

Recognizing and avoiding potentially

dangerous situatons( e.g., walking

Scrubbing sink
Scrubbing the bathtub/ shower
Cleaning the toilet
Washing the floor

Using transportation

alone on a deserted , unlighted street)

Recognizing ang avoiding potentially

dangerous individuals


Reading a road map and /or public

panhandling and other request made

transportation schedule
Locating bus stops or subway stations
For drivers license and car insurance,

on the street
Responding effectively to offers of

practicing defensive driving, keeping

Refusing unwanted sexual advances
Avoiding having ones money stolen

car in good repair

(e.g., placing wallet in front pocket,

Taking medication

Filling prescriptions at the pharmacy

Storing medications where they can

be located easily

numbe of times per day, same time

every day)
Developing a mehod to make sure




regularly(e. g., etting upa pill box ,



not displaying cash)

Locking ones door, not opening the
door unless one know whoit is

as Time management

prescribed( i.e., correct dose, correct


Using cues to remind oneself to take

Using an alarm clock

Keeping a regular daily schedule of

meals, going to bed, etc

Using a calendar to write down

appointment and important events


responbilities and complete chores

Scheduling time for leisure

medications at the proper times

Getting prescription refilled prior to
using up the medication