For the past 3-4 months my 93 year old mother (with stage 5-6 dementia), says that she wishes she was dead every time we visit, often, many times during the visit. I have answered, "God will take you when He's ready for you." I asked what I could do for her to help her not think this way. She can't think of anything to make her want to remain living. She eats and sleeps well and has no medical problems. She's lived alone for the past 30 years before the dementia, so is not very social with the other residents.
She's aware that her memory is gone, that she can't figure things out anymore and that she's confused at times. I've asked the staff at the memory care facility if she tells them she wants to die and the nurse said no. I asked the nurse to get in touch with the doctor to ask about anti-depressants but, knowing how poorly very elderly people metabolize medicines, I'm not sure that would be the best answer either. She was always a drama queen in her adult life and bordering hypochondriac.
Is she fishing for more attention from my husband and me or is she just expressing her real opinion to me, something she wouldn't say to the caregivers.
I've tried diversion (good for about 5 minutes) and explaining the benefits of living (waste of breath). What's the best way to respond?