How can I help my elderly parents who are dealing with depression and say they just want to die?

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Both of my parents live with me. My Dad is 81 and has mobility issues, my Mom is 79 and has ALZ. I have tried everything I can think of to make them feel happier, but nothing has worked. I've tried to get them to do things they enjoyed in the past, but they refuse. I've discussed this with several of their docs and the answer is always the same "we need to increase their anti depressants". I even went through all the paperwork to get them into a very nice adult daycare and they refuse to go. It is almost like they are happy being miserable. This just makes me so sad to see them this way. I will even suggest outings with them and sometimes they will agree and at the last minute refuse. I keep asking them what they would like to change or do and never get an answer.

Answers 1 to 10 of 24
I think that you might be right about them enjoying their misery, so let them. If they really do want to die, they probably just will.
Are you sure the are taking their antidepression meds? If yes, maybe they are not the right kind or dosage for an elderly person. Too much of the wrong meds can not be good either. Do they have enough help? My family member became depressed 10 years ago and would not take meds. The situation got progressively worse but eventually she agreed to take the meds when she realized she could not get back home in her condition. In retrospect, I think I failed to understand that she was afraid, afraid b/c she could not handle things like showering alone, taking care of herself and I, not living with her, didn't realize this. She was afraid of her illnesses and of dying. After several trials on different antidepressants, including stints where she refused them or where, while in assisted living, I found the pills under her bed, she ended up hospitilized for severre depression and finanlly agreed to take an antidepressants that eventually helped her to the point where I could assist her living at home. No Going out on outing is not necessarily bad, especially with mobility issues but is there anything at home you can bring them, like dvds checked out free from the local library, arts/craft projects that might keep their interest? Is there something they can do to feel helpful? Like folding laundry or shredding papers? Do they like dogs or cats? do you have any you can bring them to visit? Animals have a way of pepping the elderly up, at least with my mother and others I've seen at nursing homes when therapy dogs visit. I'm not saying get a pet, that would be another thing for you to have to take care of.
Nothing you can do except open the blinds.
Thanks everyone for your responses. In answer to tired caregiver, yes I have done all of the above. They both live with me. We have 2 dogs and 2 cats, I assist them with meals, baths, etc. My young grandchildren visit often and there is no getting them to do anything other than sit in front of the TV. The TV is getting on my nerves so bad, but that is another issue, court shows all day and the volume full blast.
gosh you have both livig with u - amazing--my mom is 79 has al/zdementia she would sleep all day if i let her- she is unstable on feet- onlky walks to the bathroom- and t living room to watch tv- i take her with me to bible study at noon- but she will sleep sitting up- she used to laugh and look at everyone now she kekeps her eys closed and yeterday she put the blanket over her face while sitting up on the couch- she cant talk- its so sad- i dont know whkat to do if it gets worse- i guess i will just have the study here at my house- i bught her a dog and she loves it - shi-poo - and the dog loves her becasue my mom lets her lick her all over her face and just laughs - its cute- i trained her to go potty in the bathroom so i dnt have to take the dog outside- do you get out with friends at all ? or family?
Hi Bonnie - I care for both my parents as well. Dad has Alzheimers and not stable on his feet; Mom's just plain ole old. They do not live with me, not yet anyway. I can't imagine how that would affect my own family. Bless your heart for taking on ALL the responsibility. My siblings took off. Does sound like meds need to be adjusted. My Dad's been on Arisept for over a year and I think it really has helped him slow the memory lose process. But he also needs a mood control pill cause he's angry most of the time.

Anyway, recently he took on the project of pasting every single photograph they had into photo books. Took months but he loved doing it and it gave him purpose besides reviving a lot of memories. Maybe you could say, "I need your help with this." A reason to help YOU instead of just reasons to help themselves. Just a thought....good luck.
Ditto what selfish siblings said about "needing their help". Could your mother help you with dusting, or sweeping outside? Do they like concert dvds: the 3 Tenors, or Andrea Bocelli ? We play those for Mother, and she thinks they are HERE. Make it a special weekly event, with a treat? (i don't know. we are trying here, huh?)
I have a hard time with just letting them be miserable, but I understand how we get "fed up" with the attitude from time to time. Do neighbors or friends, senior group from church, come for visits? I hope you find the answer. HUGS:)
Top Answer
Sadly, you don't have to be old to be depressed and suicidal. I defined my depressed periods as loosing the part of my brain that could imagine a happy future. During my parents' final years I was surprised to get a positive response when I asked if I could record them talking about their lives for future generations to hear. To motivate discussion I laid out old photos and let them both talk about the people and events in them. Later I merged the photos and the audio into a video slide show.
I have my father that lives with me and he has been the same way. He has isolated himself and it makes me sad. I do drag him out but it is even more frusterating for him because he can not hear well and he has comprehension issues and speech issues. So when I take him out he gets more frusterated and cranky because he can not keep up with conversations etc.. I was doing all the things you tried. I took him to SR centers to play cards, took him to the gym and signed him up for SR activites, I tried to get him to volunteer walking dogs etc... etc...... nothing has worked! But what has seemed to work is upping his anti-anxiety and depression medication. In speaking with the dr, he said it is not uncommon to have to up meds as a person ages. I was concerned because I hate adding drugs to the menu as the solution but if it helps with making them happy and they are at this age ..well then so be it. We did it and I have seen an improvement in attitude, his ability to sleep better and eat more. Which I think all of these items for him were contributors to being unhappy. Still can not get him out much but he seems happier. Best of luck on finding the solution. It is not easy.
Man thats tough, you must be home all day with them too? What I did was take my Mom to the daycare for lunch. then lunch again, then haircuts there, then stay a bit. It took me 2 months but we both got to know people there and little by little she learned to stay there, got to know people there and she is super shy, tended to go off into another room there a lot too. I had to return to work after my FMLA 3 months was up and I never thought this would work, but it did. She began to look forward to it and they have great meals, a DJ, music, Elvis days, all kinds of things. Inch by inch, try it if you can, otherwise you will need to make up something for them to look forward to to keep them happy, or more medication, which I believe there is nothing wrong with, if it works, do it! You poor kid, one is so hard, cant imagine two!

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