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My 90 year old father with dementia no longer wants to live and has argued with caregivers about eating. When I ask him what’s wrong, he says, “I’m just waiting to go. I’m not interested in this program. All of my relatives are already gone, etc.” He sits in silence a lot of the time and must be roused to get out of bed. He doesn’t seem to enjoy anything any more and really gets blue in the winter months! Any suggestions or thoughts?

My Dad was the same. He was exhausted with life and I would lay on the bed beside him and let him tell me about it. I was a nurse and had so many patients tell me that, and tell me they could not speak with their families about it. My Dad wanted to tell me he had a wonderful life, a good life, wanted to tell me about the one thing he had done he was sad about, wanted to tell me he just longed to sleep, and it was so hard just to get up "for your Mom" and just to eat "for your Mom" and to get on scale "because she makes me" and etc. After he was gone my Mom said she was sorry she had pushed him to stay with her; I was able to tell her he always knew it was out of love.
So my advice, let him tell you. Tell him you understand he is exhausted. That you aren't ready to lose him, but that you will love, remember, pass on anything you learned.
Your Dad is ready. Please, and with all my heart, acknowledge that. It is hard to understand, but you will get there, and now, pushing 79, I understand how close it is. We get tired. We are ready. Please be happy about that for us. And I must tell you, my Dad will never be gone from me, nor yours from you, but what a grown up gift you will give him by sitting and saying TRUTH to him now, and listening to his own truth.
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Harpcat Feb 23, 2021
What a wonderful response. And so very true.
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My father said the same thing to me many times and quite frankly, I totally understood. His quality of life was a slog, with dementia, disability, loneliness. I felt so sorry for him. Eventually he lost interest in reading and TV and just laid in bed a lot and dozed. At the end he told the nurses he was going to stop eating and he did. It took him 2 weeks to die.

I want to impress on you that this is natural. We just get tired at the end and you will hear this is very common. I liked Alvadeer's suggestion. Honor and acknowledge his words and try to help him feel loved. That’s all any of us can do.
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Hiimwes Feb 23, 2021
This is the first answer that has actually made sense to me. Maybe it's because I had to watch my grandpa slowly starve himself to death, but I have a deep hatred for this ignorant medical system. They keep them alive, AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, just to drain their bank accounts. Why not put them down humanely when it's time, instead of forcing them to suffer even more? Oh... because then they don't make as much money if they do that. WHERE'S THE COMPASSION FOR ANOTHER HUMAN LIFE!? God, it really grinds my gears just thinking about it!
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My Dad was ready to go for a couple years before he passed. We would talk about it & sometimes I would tell him I wasn't ready to be without him. He had a DNR & did not want any extra measures taken to sustain him, which I strictly adhered to. The day I got the call that he was fading, I gathered what I needed because I would be beside him til the end. He would rouse and talk but eventually fell unresponsive tho I could still see recognition in his face. I talked to him for several days before he passed, sharing memories & stories he'd told us growing up. The day before he passed, the aide brought him breakfast but he wasn't interested until I mentioned his fave cereal was included. He roused, ate the entire bowl, drank some coffee, spoke to me then laid his head back on his pillow and was back to being unresponsive. It was wonderful and heart-breaking at the same time. He passed early the next morning & I was at peace because I knew he was where he wanted to be. In heaven with my Mom, his Mom & his Father he hadn't seen in 84 years.
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castone Feb 23, 2021
Thank you for sharing ❤️
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My dad didn’t have dementia but he definitely reached a point of wanting this life to end. He did take Zoloft his last few years and it was a help with being depressed. But it’s very understandable for a person with multiple medical issues going on, missing those who’ve gone before them, and not seeing a bright future, to want out. Mostly I just told my dad that I understood
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castone Feb 23, 2021
Thank you. What dose was he on and how long did it take to work? Any side effects?
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Sounds like he has just lost the will to live.

My Dad is 96 but he has dementia and says he's going to live to be 100.

I tell the Caregivers to let him do whatever he wants as I feel at that age, he deserves it.

If he wants to have a snack every couple hours, let him.

Let him watch TV whenever he wants.

Redirect his talk about being ready to die.

He deffiently needs things to do, mostly, he needs Companionship.

He needs to do things he use to enjoy doing.

Every Day Play music that he use to like as Music is very soothing, can bring back good memories, very therapeutic.

Go thru old pictures and reminise with him about the good old days.

I give my Dad foot. Leg arms and feet massages with organic coconut oil and he loves it and always relaxes him and he goes right to sleep.

Old people do sleep a lot. They sleep on and off all day.

If he has problems sleeping at night ask his Dr about giving him an over the counter melatonin to help him sleep.

At that age, let him eat and drink what he wants as long as it's not alcohol.

At this age if he wants Little Debbie chocolate mini muffins and milk that's what he gets.

If he doesn't feel like eating my rule to the Caregivers is Never Force Him To Eat! Just save the food and offer it a little later. He'll eat when he's hungry.

Old people lose their taste as they age and that's why they lean towards liking sweets.

Old people especially ones with dementia even will forget how to eat and swallow and don't want to because they think they will choke.

My Dad started spitting out his food after chewing it instead of swallowing it so he couldn't eat meat and other foods any longer so I went to easy foods like pancakes and syrup, apple sauce, oatmeal, eggs, yogurt, mash potatoes and gravy, soup, beans and cornbread, baby food chicken sausages, ensure. Breakfast drinks, Breakfast Fruit Bars, Shakes, Ice Cream, Doughnut and muffins nothing with nuts or berries or even tiny bits of onion or relish in a potato salad, if he felt a pc in his mouth, he would spit it out like we would if we got a bone thinking it was a foreign object, that's when we switched to soft food.

He needs to be stimulated...

Play Cards or Dominos with him..

Buy him lg pc puzzles, lg size paint by number, easy kids model plane, car to put together and paint.

NEVER EVER ALLOW A FEEDING TUBE!

Remember, in the end it is his life and if he's ready to go let him go.

Also please go over his meds tgat may be making him feel suicidal and make sure he does not have a UTI.

Dissues with him and have a Do Not Resuscitate.

Prayers
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Hiimwes Feb 23, 2021
That's a good answer, but you're talking about prolonging the inevitable. Do you really expect her father to start enjoying life now? Sometimes it's best to just know when to call it quits guys. I have no idea why everyone insists on keeping him alive as long as possible. Why should someone have to starve themselves to death slowly, instead of being humanely put down? Is this entire world full of sadists or something?
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I watched this play out with a gent at my mom's nursing home. While on the one hand he seemed physically and mentally much more capable that most of the people there on the other it was undeniable that he had a low quality of life and his future was only likely to be something worse. I made a vow to myself that I would never force my mother to eat - wheedle, plead and tempt maybe, but never, ever force. The very old have so little control over where they go, what they do and even of their own bodies, the choice to eat (or not) is often all they have left of their autonomy. Yes do look into whether antidepressants help, but also be willing to allow him to make his own choices about this.
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My aunt was saying similar things, and she'd even joke about blowing her own brains out with her 9mm handgun sometimes, which was... highly disturbing to say the least. I know she was just joking since she's a catholic, but still. Anyway, the doctors diagnosed her with late-stage dementia, which can cause severe depression. Honestly, I believe that people should be able to die whenever they want to at older ages. Keeping someone alive into their hundreds when they just want to pass on is rude. All the hospitals care about is draining older people of all of their money. Now, before someone calls me insensitive, think about it like this. In the old days, before medical science came along and f***ed up the cycle, old people were considered to be 50-70 years old. They could still somewhat function. Now compare that to my aunt who's 96 years old this year and your father who's 90. At those ages, they have so many pills that they can't even remember if they took them all. She had to take 20 pills every single morning, each for something different, She can't walk more than a couple of steps, she can't drive, she can't make her own food, she can't play with her cat, and everyone she knew well has already died. My grandpa before that lived to be 98 before he refused to eat and passed away. They refused to put him down and made him starve himself to death instead. I think more people should be wary of the medical system in America because it's a disgustingly corrupt system that preys on those in need. Not to mention, we pay more for everything, and we're still the least insured developed country in the WORLD!
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SZHNJ1023 Feb 23, 2021
I could not agree with you more, Hiimwes.
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When dementia advances to this degree, it's natural for your father to want to stop living. He's tired. Not everybody WANTS to live and prolong the suffering that goes along with dementia, and to suggest otherwise is not accepting or validating your father's WISHES in the matter. Please don't think YOU are doing 'something wrong' here or that you can change his attitude if you take him home & make every moment of his life a joyride. Yeah, no............not likely to happen, my friend.

My mother is 94 & in a similar situation to your father. I listen to her tell me daily how she's ready to die and I actually commiserate with her b/c I'm validating HER feelings about her OWN life and death here. She says I don't understand how much pain & suffering she's going through *when she's lucid enough to speak like this* and I agree with her. Every night I pray that God comes to take her Home. She deserves peace.

I suggest you get a hospice evaluation for your father asap. They won't force him to eat or sleep less; they will accommodate him and make him as comfortable as possible until his time comes to enter the next phase of his eternal life. They won't try to suggest giving him a happy pill because let's face it, dementia has ruined the quality of his life..........why should he WANT to extend it? That's what blows my mind; when people suggest prolonging a demented elder's life no matter WHAT. Why? My DH and I have already had the discussion about 'what to do' if one of us gets diagnosed with ALZ/dementia, and extending our lives is not one of the options.

Wishing you the best of luck with acceptance of your father's wishes and peace with all of it.
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MaryKathleen Feb 23, 2021
My husband has dementia, and when he was first diagnosed, that was his wish. He did not want his life extended or any feeding tube or anything else. I feel the same way. So many of my friends are gone. One hard time I had was in 6 weeks, I went to 19 funerals. That is hard. Sometimes more than one a day.
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He's in his 90's. I suggest you listen to him! He has every right to feel the way he does! If he doesn't want to eat any more, then don't force him to. In the end my Mother ate less and less. She barely drank any water and this went on for a long time before she finally passed. I miss her terribly. She was my best friend, but I was relieved she wouldn't have to lie there in bed anymore just waiting to die.

I myself, don't feel like living and I am only 66. If a person is not living, but merely existing, then they are not living.
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MaryKathleen Feb 23, 2021
((hugs)). I don't know how much pain you are in, or your general health. You are young enough to be my child. I am 86. I encourage you to find out why you are feeling the way you do and try some changes. ((hugs)). I remarried at 65 and worked part time until I was 84. I volunteer with my Sheriff's Department. PM me if you want to.
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I'm sorry for the stress this must bring you. I hope you have had some conversations about EOL end of life, if not start talking about it. At some point the will to live ends, don't let it be a surprise. We all are only here for so long and then we pass on. At some point you have to let your loved one go if that's what they want and be at peace with their decision as hard as it may be.
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