Hi all - my grandpa died at age 98 of aspiration pneumonia earlier this month. Until March of this year, my grandparents were both doing amazing living in their home and taking care of themselves. It was remarkable.

Unfortunately, just 4 days after my grandpa died, my grandma fell and broke her hip. This was surprising to all of us considering she was so well previously.

since then, surgery and grief exhaustion has caught up with her - which I totally understand after a crazy few weeks. Always an anxious person, she is in a mental crisis and it’s tough to watch.

At my visit today, she plainly said she doesn’t want to live anymore and has no intention of trying to get stronger or better in any way. She doesn’t want to eat or take any of her existing medications right now.

As you can probably imagine, I’m at a loss and very sad for many reasons. Has anyone else experienced anything like this stretch of time? What can I do? What SHOULD I do? I feel so helpless right now 😞

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I’m so sorry that you are struggling with this situation and the loss of your grandfather. He lived a long life! I know that you must miss him terribly. I am sure that your grandmother misses him an awful lot.

My dad died before my mom. She missed him terribly but seemed to cope with her loss fairly well. She lived to be 95. She had her share of suffering. She had Parkinson’s disease. Mom was tired. She never expected to live as long as she did. Occasionally, she would make a comment about being ready to join my father. They were married for almost 56 years.

I understood how she felt and felt that she was entitled to her feelings. So, I honored her feelings. I told her that I understood why she felt as she did. I didn’t tell her things like, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t feel like that or Don’t say that.’ She was comforted by my understanding her feelings.

Meet her where she is. Hey, you might feel the same way, if you were her age!

Best wishes to you and your family. Take care.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

"I’m at a loss and very sad for many reasons".

Yes you are grieving too 😥

"Has anyone else experienced anything like this stretch of time?"

A colleague lost both elderly parents, him first (unexpected) she became confused with grief/delerium, fell, #hip, more delerium, refused to eat, passed within weeks. Yes it can happen like this. I have heard many tales similar & I'm with FunkyGrandma, focus on the good story here. Two long long lives & a short time apart.

"What can I do?"
Visit & hold her hand. Thank her for being your Grandma. Help support your family. Find or connect with supportive people for yourself. (Some friends won't get it, won't be supportive, you don't need them now).

"What SHOULD I do?"
Do no harm.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Beatty

My mother, being 82, lost her best friend when her husband (my father) died, so she lost interest in life. She refused medical treatment and tried very hard to die. After six months, she decided to stop eating...amd died six weeks later.

I say when an elderly person wishes to die, leave her or him alone.
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Reply to kahill1918

I'm so sorry for what you're going through. There does come a time when a person does give up. They're not in fear of death. They welcome it like an old friend and they go willingly and at peace.
This happened to my father. His entire life until the age of 90 he enjoyed robust health, great looks, and was still athletic golfing, bowling, swimming, driving, cooking, and living independently. He didn't have a moment of dementia either.
Then he had a stroke. He didn't die from it. At first he was doing a lot of physical, speech, and occupational therapy. Then insurance stopped paying for this and he was then just room and board care in the facility. He knew that he wasn't getting out of the nursing home. This is when he gave up and I think willed himself dead. He stopped letting the staff get him out of bed. He didn't want to eat.
It took seven months for him to die because his body was still strong and in good shape. He wanted to go though. He was ready. I think your grandma is too.
Visit her as much as you can. There's nothing you or anyone else can do for her except be there. She wants you there.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver

I have witnessed the passing of older people who were ill . Not as old a grandma but near the end of life .. One was my mom .. a few months before hospice was brought in , she stopped eating . I thought is was a conscious thing on her part. but , it wasn’t. We chastised her. The wonderful people at hospice spent some time with us to educate us . Her body could no longer process what she was eating so her brain shut of her appetite. Sounds silly but I have seen it multiple times. She did not have a long time husband that she wanted to be with but , she just wanted to go HOME . Hospice helped us get through that, too . We ( children ) each , over time , told her if she was ready we would be ok on our own .We praised the time she was in out lives and what she taught us ..,In a way we gave her permission to pass. It was hard on all of us but she was ready .Depression and Pain were all she had left . I also witnessed this in a mother in law , a grandmother and a sister in law . Everyone of them also hated the thought of being a burden to the family in the condition they were in ..
I pray when it comes to me that my kids will let me go with respect of my choices , love and understanding ..
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Reply to Nanulinda1

This is so very common with couples that have been together a long time. When one dies, the other often follows shortly thereafter. I find it very sweet, and instead of looking at the negative, look at the positive, that perhaps soon, your grandpa and grandma will be back together for eternity. That should turn your frown upside down.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to funkygrandma59

In a younger life I worked for a life insurance company in the claims department - it wasn't unusual for couples married for many years to follow one another in death a few days or weeks apart.

My husband and his brothers were concerned that their mother wouldn't survive her husband's death, however she was much younger than your grandmother and did survive many years.

If your GF was 98, then I am presuming your grandmother is of a similar age. A broken hip can be a game changer with health of an elder. She has been through a lot in the last couple of months and I'm sure it wearing her down that her desire to live has become non-existent. Have her dr provide a referral for hospice and consult hospice providers and find a good fit for GM and the family.

My father at 89 was tired of living and continued until he was 91. When he landed in hospital with CHF, AFIB, leaky heart valve +. When he got home from rehab he stated he was done - no more rehab no more active treatment. We used a not for profit hospice provider and were very pleased with the services they provided dad and mom.

Know placing GM on hospice doesn't mean death is imminent - my dad lived for another 6 months - some live longer, some live shorter, some graduate from hospice.

Try and honor GM's wishes and love and support her.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to cweissp

You posted a similar question

You cannot force feed her and if she chooses not to rehab within the next few weeks, she could end up in a nursing home. It is time for a hospice consult. Ask if she should be evaluated for depression with the consult. Still be prepared if they say she qualifies. Keep in mind that the ethical thing is to do no further harm because a lot of further interventions will do harm.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to MACinCT

After a spouse passes when they've been together for decades, either of 2 things happens: either the surviving spouse wants to join the deceased spouse immediately or they go on living for a decade or more without further ado. My mother went route #2 but I've had relatives go route #1.

Please get your mother a hospice evaluation right away to honor her wishes. Extending an elders life beyond their wishes isn't fair to them at all. Death isn't the end but a new beginning where your grandparents will be reunited once again in eternal love. Of course its hard to say goodbye to our loved ones, but its part of the cycle of life we all must endure.

Wishing you the best of luck with a difficult situation.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to lealonnie1
cweissp Jul 28, 2021
beautifully said.
My mother is 87 and was quite healthy until a few months ago. She and my 83 year old dad have been married for 63 years, and the thought of one of them surviving without the other is difficult for me to imagine. As my mother’s health is declining my dad seems to realize that time is short and has voiced numerous times that he does not want to live without her. I am really struggling with the thought of how he is going to deal with her death when it comes. I don’t want him to hurt the way I know he inevitably will. In his mind, his life will be over once she’s gone. All I can hope for him is that he is able to follow her because I know that’s what he wants. I don’t want either of them to suffer. I’ve heard that it’s only difficult for those who are left behind, and I think it’s fair for your loved one to want her suffering to end sooner rather than later.
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Reply to Jackieb413

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