My Dad is depressed and has given up the will to live. What can I do?

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My dad lost his wife (my mom) and first born (my older sister) in 2012. It's been a very painful 2 years as my brother (30) and I (37) try to pick up the pieces and care for our father. Since their deaths, he's been in the hospital 3 times--mainly because of "failure to thrive" situations and this last time landed him in Assisted Living. He never leaves the room and is so horribly depressed that it takes it's toll on his physical health. He had no dementia but is so isolated (his choice), refuses therapy or anti-depressants...oh, and he's a physician so no one can advise him. My brother and I visit 3 times a week and try to encourage him but he shuts us down or gets angry. I'm not afraid to fight for him but I am just exhausted and out of ideas. He wants no one to visit and doesn't try to change his situation. He keeps losing weight and is seeming to deteriorate...does any one else have this type of situation?

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I went through this same thing with my mom.

After a bout with cancer (no chemo needed) she became depressed and took to her bed. She hardly got up except to go to the bathroom and after a while she started falling whenever she got up. She was drinking only 1 Ensure a day and no water or food.

I tried to reason with her, I tried yelling at her, getting angry at her, threatening her, begging her.....I did it all. My aunt used to screech on the phone to me, "Make her get up! Force her to go to the Dr.!" How exactly? Throw her over my shoulder and shove her into the car?

One evening she got up to use the bathroom and she fell. My dad called me to come and get my mom off the floor and I pretended that I couldn't lift her (I could have). I called 911 and they took her to the hospital.

Her electrolytes were dangerously out of balance and not from the cancer (which she was free from) but from laying in that bed day after day wanting to die. She died a week later. From depression. Her death certificate said "heart failure" but everyone dies of heart failure. My mom died from depression.

I guess my point is that you can give it everything you've got, like I did, but if your dad wants to die you can't stop him. I loved my mother very much, we had a wonderful relationship, and I couldn't help her and she didn't want my help anyway.
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Suegirl
20 hrs ago
Can you fix his favorite meal, you and your Brother go share it with him. After a couple of times of recalling good times or friends that live close. Then bring that friend with you on next family, dinner. little by little.
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p.s. I meant give him his own room and space even if he has dementia.

I would also tell him that if he wants to die, then he's doing a good job of it because he will die if he doesn't get on with his life. And if that happens, what will happen to you guys?

We are all responsible for our own lives, unless there is underlying depression and/or dementia. He needs medical help. I would NOT allow him to dictate my health nor my family's health, which he is doing by carrying this on for so long. He may even like the sympathy factor.
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Maybe what he needs is a wake up call with no more sympathy.

Tell him that you, too, lost a mother and a sister. Tell him that he has other children who need him just as much as the sister who died needs him. Tell him that you, too, miss mom, but it's time to move forward.

I realize grief manifests itself in many ways, but he also has a responsibility to be there for his entire family.

Either do it en masse, i.e., all your sisters/brothers go visit or write him a letter.

Also remind him of the mantra - Physician Heal Thyself.

Sometimes what is needed is tough love, not sympathy. He needs to either 'snap out of it' (I know, wrong phrase) or get some help so he can function for his other children and grandchildren if he has any.

It would also be nice if one of you could take him in, give him his own room and space (if he's not demented).

Has he been given any tests for dementia and/or depression?

If he wants to die you can't help that. To me, that's depression, not grief. There's help for that, he knows that, and he should seriously think about getting that help. The Whoa is Me is getting tiring for all of you, not to mention stressful.
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Can you fix his favorite meal, you and your Brother go share it with him. After a couple of times of recalling good times or friends that live close. Then bring that friend with you on next family, dinner. little by little.
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BTW I am a grief counselor.
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Get him out of his room if at all possible. BTW how old is your day. With your and your brother's ages, he can't be that old. My husband went through a similar bout. He lost both parents and had his inheritance signed over to his brother because he changed religion he was cut out of the will. He lost a commercial building that we owned in foreclosure, then his oldest son died of an alcohol overdose. My husband is 71. This all began 10 years ago and it took until about a year ago for him to snap out of it. His youngest son lives in Kansas City, KS and we are in Atlanta, GA. His son began to take more interest in him and asked him to help find and help remodel a rental home that he bought in our neighborhood. It gave him a purpose (now mind you, we own a business and have a happy marriage) but it took that push to get him out and active. Maybe there could be a push where someone could ask your father for his help. People need to be needed. It's as important as being loved. Since he is a physician, maybe he could do volunteer work if his health permits, but nothing is as important as helping someone you love try that.
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Tell him you love him. Perhaps bring in pictures of loved ones and remind him you and brother still need him...stories and memories...

Talk with a grievance counselor, perhaps they will have something else to suggest. It is very hard situation..... Take care..
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So sorry to hear about the passing of your Mom and sister. Wonder if because your Dad is a doctor that he feels like he had failed them? That he could have done more or had noticed something prior to them becoming ill, if that was the cause of their passing.

My significant other was a long time griever.... so sad that all my S/O could dwell on are the days that his parents died and they lived into their 80's.... his sister died young in her 20's fifty some years ago, and his brother passed on a few years ago.

I finally told him that I don't think his immediate family lived their whole life ONLY to be remembered for the day they died. I asked him to tell me about their lives prior to their passing on, there must be some wonderful memories... eventually he started to come around. He's doing much better.

I just wished now he would stop writing on the calendar the anniversary of their deaths. I know we all grieve differently, but I can't remember when any of my relatives had passed on because I rather celebrate their life.
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