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Tomcat~This is a common remark from the elderly. My mother has said it too. While it is to get attention, I also think it is because they are losing their independence and feel inadequate. Like JeanneGibbs said, help her to regain her independence even if she thinks she unable. Of course it is a more difficult situation if your mother has always been the helpless type or believes she should be taken care of by others. What does her dr. say her limitations are? What is happening that causes her to have a bad day? Jessiebelle is right that the elderly are bored and lonely but at the same time, they cut themselves off from socializing with others their own age. I think the reason they cut themselves off from socializing is because of their pride...they don't want their friends or peer group to know something is wrong with them.
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tomcat, I wonder if it would be kinder if you stopped doing everything for her and she had to get up out of her recliner a bit. You say that she has recovered from the severe chf episode and is doing well health-wise. So why does she need you to do everything for her? Have you both just gotten into a bad rut?
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My mother does it out of anger or to create drama. When these are the case, I just say something like "No, you don't" or "Stop the drama" or just ignore her. I consider it is just a tantrum and she doesn't really want to die. Sometimes I think that if she really wanted to die she would stop taking her medicines or eating. However, I would never say this to her, because she might try to prove me wrong by doing it.

We do have to be empathetic. The people we care for are often bored and lonely for someone their own age to talk to. Strangely enough, they tend to isolate themselves, making it even lonelier. Sometimes we caregivers can look like we are trying to control things -- we often are, but with good intent in mind. This is probably the reason that we see so much temper in the people we care for.
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I don't know, JessieBelle, sometimes I think it is for attention. Sometimes I'm not so sure. She's pretty well; last year she was in a fix with congestive heart failure, but due to a pacemaker and ameodirone(sp) she's pretty well these last 6 months. I moved in with her during the bad times 9 months ago when my brothers thought she was dying. Now she's pretty much ok. I take her out 3-4 times a week, but her life is very boring. (mine too!) I do everything for her and she sits in her recliner and watches tv. I don't know what else to say. sorry
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tomcat, does she really want to die, or does she just say it. Often an elder is expressing anger or frustration when they say it is what they want. I have heard it a lot the last three years. My response varies depending on the context. Tell us a little more about your situation and someone may be able to help more.
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