You said that he takes medication which means that he sees a mental health professional. You can encourage him to speak to his doctor about independent living arrangements; however, if he’s not ready, then you must respect his wishes.
As you suspect, your power is limited in this situation. You’ve tried to talk to him about moving and the idea of change frightens him. His family won’t listen. You’ve really done all that you can.
Many people with schizophrenia are frightened of change. In some cases, too much change, too quickly can lead to a psychotic episode. Even knowing that he is not living in the ideal set of circumstances, it may be in his best interest to simply leave him be. He may someday be ready to move out but now doesn’t seem like the right time.
You are his friend when no one else seems to be. You care about him even when it seems that no one else does. You may think that you are not doing enough for him but your friendship undoubtedly means a great deal. Perhaps in time, he will lean on your caring and support to become independent. Research has consistently shown that having strong social support significantly improves the outcomes of people with schizophrenia. Your relationship with him has the potential to create strong positive change.
Continue to be a friend and an advocate and maybe in the future, he will be ready for independence. He may never be ready but should he be, your relationship will have served as an important lifeline. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog