My very elderly Dad is done living. What can I do?

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Isiltung, was hospitalized, now back in independent assisted living, hiding out, waiting to die.

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This is tough for you, I know, and I'm sorry that you have to cope with it.

Still, I agree that there may not be a lot you can do. People often know when their life is done. We need to freely give our love and support, make certain that they have what they need and want, and make sure they aren't in pain. If a doctor can give them a magic pill to help them feel better, fine, but an antidepressant isn't magic and some do more harm than good. They often take experimentation.

You don't say anything about dementia. Regardless, we will all die. There is a time when it's over and I believe that when your elderly loved ones get to that time, and nothing medically can be done, that feeling should be respected. Don't make him feel guilty or force company on him he doesn't want. You can try things but know when to leave him in peace. He may need that time to make his own emotional transition to his passing.

Keep reading for a variety of opinions and take care of yourself. You've done well.

Hi Honest Abe1, it could very well be that Your Dad is tired from the constant battles through Life. Sometimes Our very Elderly loose the will to continue, and want to let go. Thirty years from now that could be Me. I'd say cherish every breathing moment, and all You can do is to be there for Your Dad. Peace to You and Your Dad.
Johnjoe is right.

There is nothing to do but assure your Dad you love him, and give him your "permission" to let go and die in peace. Talk to him about the good times and memories, and let him talk too. If you don't have hospice, get it NOW.

A truly wonderful book about facing the end of loves ones' and out own lives is by Atul Gawande, MD, called "Being Mortal". We're all going to die - and there is no cure for old age. You must find a way to accept this.
Death is often looked at with fear. It is, however, a natural part of the life process & something that we will all face eventually. How we face that eventuality is a personal thing, you know? My 91 year old Dad fought a very valiant battle until the doctor told him his brain tumor had grown & there was nothing that could be done medically. From that moment, my father lived 2 weeks & 5 days: he gave up the fight & he decided his life on Earth was over. What could I do about it? Absolutely nothing, except love him & make him as comfortable as possible. We had a long talk about fear, and Dad reassured me he was not afraid, which brought me great comfort. Hospice was absolutely wonderful, and they made him comfortable and unafraid right to the very end. Dad left on HIS terms, and I have no regrets about how his end-of-life care was handled.

Wishing you all the best; but above all, Acceptance of your father's wishes.
In my experience, people often seem to "know" when their time is up. Some choose to fight it, tooth and nail (my FIL had skin cancer and aggressively txed that, although he was simply weeks away from dying from Leukemia)..we didn't argue with him. All you can do is show your love and let them go in peace. My own daddy just "quit"--well, the Parkinson's did that for him, but once he refused to eat and couldn't even swallow more than a sip of water in an hour....we embraced the passage that we call death and let him go. Dad didn't want anyone but close family, FIL wanted to "party" til the end. To each his/her own. Respect his wishes and love him.
Abe, respect his choice, honor him for what he's done for you, and make the most of his last days. Set aside any other obligations and spend it with him, reminiscing about good times, expressing your gratitude for what he's brought to your life.

In my view, that would be the best gift you could give him at this time. Accept his decision, as it is in fact his decision.
The Hospice nurse told me about her observations of people just hanging on for their loved ones. The last day of my mom's life she was unable to speak, eat or drink. Until then I had stayed with her, day and night, for about two weeks at the ALF. She was alert and able to communicate until that last day. She and I truly enjoyed being together. We always sang our favorite songs along with her CDs. We reminisced, laughed and cried. I was so fortunate to have time with her before we knew it was time to call Hospice. Even then, the nurse gave us privacy, but was always available. When she told me mom's breathing had changed, I knew what she meant. I held mom's hands and told her I had heard that people in her stage of life could see their loved ones on the other side. I then assured her that if she were ready to join them, it was OK with me. I told her how much I loved her and my dad for loving me and giving me the tools I needed to have a good life. I told her how much I would miss her if it were her time, but that I would be OK. She really loved my husband, so I reminded her of his love for her and for me and that I had him and a full life. Once I had given her permission to leave and assured her I would be OK, she took one breath and slipped away. I am an only child, and mom had always told friends and family, she hated to leave me "alone." I believe she was waiting to hear me say the things she needed to hear before she would let go. So, as many others have advised you to do, devote yourself to being with your dad in positive ways. When his time comes, he will know how much he was loved, and you will be at peace when the inevitable lonliness sets in. My heart and prayers are with you. I still miss my mom, but I have special memories to cherish forever. I hope some of us have let you know you are not alone. Love your dad and enjoy your time with him.
II wo uld reiterate what some others have said: Show and t ell him how much you love him. If there were bad times (and we all have had them) tell him you forgive him for anything said or done, and make sure he knows you love and respect him. If he is a person of faith, have someone, a pastor, priest or whatever, come to spend some time with him. That is all you can do. Bless you.
First ask if there is any dementia involved. It could be vascular due to circulation deficits to his brain. There is an emotional despair which can accompany this type of dementia, & it can last for many years. I have experienced it with my husband who is now 87 and is on in home hospice care. When a person has functioned as a high powered professional, this type of deterioration takes an incredible toll on their ego and personality. They may feel helpless, worthless, and hopeless.. It is very hard to accept this, so seeing a therapist can help you. You can ask the doctor about meds for depression, but these may not work either. In my husband's case they just complicated his problem with' hypotension' (low b/p), and his likelihood for falls increased. The most important thing you can give is love and attention to his needs.
Many elders, when they get up there in age, are done. And who can blame them really?

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