This site has been so helpful for me. Mom went in the nursing home last August, age 87, frequent falls and bone breaks, almost blind and needed 24 hour care. We thought therapy might be enough for her, but she continues to decline. She gets very angry when she says she is coming home and the doctor, the nursing home and I tell her she can't. Her biggest worry is money, but she has enough to stay there for sometime. I have trouble having her home for visits, because she can't transfer alone and I am not able to help her get in and out of chairs alone.

I live in her house, sold my home years ago and put that investment in her home to get much needed repairs and updating done. She would have been in a nursing home years ago if I wasn't here to help her.

That is the background. She told me today she doesn't think she can do anything to make her legs stronger, she can walk short distances in a walker with help. Normally her thought process is she will get better at home, because she won't be restricted. They have to use alarms with her because she is compulsive and non compliant.

The last day or so she has said several times that it would be easier on me if she was gone. She has never talked like that and it is bothering me. She is such a worrier and has anxiety issues, so she just sits in her room and worries. She doesn't do activities and is very eager to tell anyone who listens how she hates it there. She can't come home, because she needs care available 24 hours and I can't do that.

I told her tonight, to quit talking like that, but I am really concerned about her thought process now. Also, the caregiver that helped at home for 8 months just passed away last week and she was only 58. Mom got close to her and she was absolutely the best helper anyone could ever have. That really upset mom, she was thinking she could get her to help again, when she came home.

She told me today she is going to try to stay there through April, but she doesn't know if she can do it. She is starting to get confused a little. She refers to her room as a cabin sometimes. She also tells the night nurse to be careful in the alley with the med cart. But she can tell you how much money she has, what she has spent there and many other details.

Medically she is declining, having some GI issues, frequent headaches and a huge decline in stamina.

I don't know what else to do for her. I have tried decorating her room, going to activities with her, volunteering, going to eat with her there. She is in the same town, so I do see her 3-4 times a week. I don't get much support from siblings, none live here, but one is here about half the year. They rarely call her and only after I push them to call.

She just went to the dr yesterday and he didn't change any meds and told me she won't ever be happy there, as much as we all want her to be.

How do I respond to her comments about dying? Does this mean she is giving up? This is so sad and I feel bad, but also helpless.


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My heart goes out to you over wrought one....
What you describe...change a few details.. and fits so many others!
Mine included.
My Mom has been gone for only 5 weeks now. We spent almost 5 yrs in assisted care and I was her primary (only) “go to”.
(a). Your first 4-6 months are the roughest. Even though care personnel will say –“a few weeks”.
(b) Depression/constant talk of going back home/anger – is what to expect. Hard as it is.
© Is the care at your chosen place – really meeting her mental/emotional needs? Investigate deeply. The care facility should be meeting her every need. Including finding every which way to get her down to activities and get involved. If not look at other places if that choice is still open.

To try to help with what sounds as your main concern, your Mother’s mental health….
(1) Take advantage of the care personnel – they are being paid to help in every which way. Have them put your Mom in the car AND take her out for your errand day rides. No worries for you then.. In warm/cool weather... I left the car running and appropriate comfort control on. Mom napped or people watched and LOVED IT! Just watch the time.
(2) Stop for an ice cream as much as possible. :-)
(3) Volunteer to help with craft time. There is something about arts and crafts.(and they always need help) Crafts are a wonderful outlet to exasperated “confined” mature adults. Creating gives a sense of accomplishment – so important.
(4) Plan favorite simple meals with (as many as you can) relatives at the care place (in another room if possible.) Something to look forward too.
(5)Try hard to get your siblings - if they wont visit - to “at least” send a (cute) card! Means so much to get a “I am thinking of you” in the mail. If she cant read – you can read it to her or a care asso. can. Brightens anyone’s day.
(6.) Is there a place eat close to being outside? Make her favorite dish (or take out) and do a picnic type thing. Mom’s was a large baked potato and sour cream. I had Bob Evans on speed dial on my work days when it was fun food night together.
(7) Do you have a cat you can bring in for a visit? Cats (on a lap especially) have an amazing soothing effect. Make it a regular thing.
(8) Books/stories/novels. Large print books or audio books are wonderful to those who can still enjoy them!
(9) AND probably the most important one of all…re-establishing her worth. What good attributes did/does your Mom have? Mom had a smile that lit up her whole face and others too. And later on…when she talked about “being a burden and “why cant I JUST DIE?” I would say, “Mom… only God decides “when”..(and with a big smile finish with) “I guess you just have more people to meet and many more people to bless with that wonderful smile of yours!”

Overwroughtone, you shouldn’t feel guilty? But you will. Sadly..its a given. No matter how hard I tried…did all I could do and was taking care of my family too...when Mom was unhappy/depressed/or had anxiety attacks...I felt guilty like I hadn’t done enough. And – later on –when Mom’s memory began to fade –and “why hadn’t she seen me in such a long while?” when I was there a few days ago…it *really* gets to you. But try not to? You’re a loving caring daughter it sounds like who is taking on the responsibility for everyone.
Three more things just for you:
(a) If you have one or two people in your life that you can “totally unload on” it will be a blessing! Mine was my brother. He couldn’t be there to help as often (family/work issues) as I would have liked -but he saved my sanity….just listening. Be it because of: Drs, rehabs, hosp protocol, other family or the heartbreak with Mom’s problems.
(b) Be honest with your siblings! Tell them this is hard by yourself! They need to know and get involved – in someway! Is it sending money? – cards? More visits? No excuses - someway!
(c) Speaking of money – do you have someone set up (you!) as the Durable POA? Do you have Mom’s accounts designated so it all transfers to you upon passing? (TOD) So important! If not get it done ASAP.

Remember…these days will end someday. You will look back – hard as they are now - and not regret one minute of time spent. Hope this helped. God Bless!

much. You sound so much like me. My Mom is gone now...just five weeks. I heard

ed care place "Will NEVER be my home!" and the first t
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Nanc512, it is never easy to help someone you care about who is unhappy and feels death is the only answer. There is a lot of great support on this site, except when that support is utilized with vile and vulgar language with demeaning reference toward a declining individual. Just do the best you can to reassure her that you are there for her.
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If your mom starts talking again about dying, then listen to her concerns...maybe she is worried about something. Let her know that you will be okay when she is gone. Sad and grieving, but you will be okay. `We all have bad days or a couple of weeks but longer than that is probably depression. As much as we love our parents, we cannot give them the will to live. I believe they just get tired, and are ready to let go.
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Oh Nanc I forgot to add this, I just bought a book called Power Foods For The Brain written by Dr Neal D. Barnard and he writes about dementia and depression, he gives such good advice such as daily exercise being so important to keep the brain healthy and he writes about which meds can cause dementia like symptoms, as well as he discusses foods that are excellent for the brain, I highly recommend this book not only for people with loved ones with brain illnesses, but for anyone who wants to keep their own brains healthy.

I hope things ease up for your Mom and you. I hope that psychologist on staff from the church really helps your Mom. It is sad for anyone at any age to want to die, especially when they have a loving daughter like you and I know your Mom knows deep inside herself you do love her, but I just believe depression is taking over her mind and that is awful. Depression is as cruel as dementia in my opinion, and like I wrote Dr Keith Ablow really believes depression is often misdiagnosed as dementia. I even know of certain drs and other medical people who say that depression is a part of dementia and they pooh-pooh the idea that what they see as dementia could in fact be depression. How tragic would it be if a person suffering with depression (which is treatable) is misdiagnosed with dementia (which as we all sadly know is not treatable) and they just wallow away when they could actually return to a healthy brain and mind with the right treatments.
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My Mom, 97, gets depressed sometimes and says she wishes she could die. I just tell her we are not in controll. When God gets ready for her she will get to die and not before. I also get fed up sometimes but I know my home is exactly where Mother needs to be so I have to give myself a talking to now and then. She would never make it in a nursing home and my siblings don't have the backbone to deal with her. I guess this might not work unless your Mom has a religious background.
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Some great insight here, I appreciate it. Mom's eyesight is declining and she can't see photos, see to read, etc.... I never thought about music, she loves classical music. I still have a bunch of her CDs, she probably can't operate a CD player, but I will work with social services about that. She is on a low dose of Effexor and I don't want her on a bunch of drugs.

We have a psychologist on staff at church and he is going to start seeing her once a week. He told me he will take her out of her room and go somewhere that is bright, she can see better, and talk with her. She knows him well and he saw her frequently after my dad passed away. We think that will help, at least he can listen to her and she is willing to talk with him.

The home is quarantined now, so I can't see her, they have a horrible stomach virus and of course, she caught it and got sick yesterday. They said they might be shut down for up to 2 weeks, until it works its way through her unit. I am leaving little things for her and roommate at the door and calling the desk to tell them they are there. Hoping that helps them because they are all going nuts stuck in the unit, not being able to go the foyer and look out and no visitors.

I will read more about depression. There is a great social services person on her unit, mom likes her and she is very good with mom. I often call and vent to her about the things going on there. She is one who gets things done, the resident care supervisor makes excuses and assumes all her employees are perfect. There are some CNAs that have no business working with the elderly. I told mom when someone treats her wrong or snaps at her to ask their name and then immediately call me or ask to see social services. That's another story.

Thank you, I will keep looking for articles on depression and for info from Dr. Ablow.
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Nan, there is nothing you can do about her condition, so stop trying to prevent the inevitable. My husband is also 86 going on 87, and he makes statements similar to your mother's and I just don't feed into it. I usually say, "Go ahead and quit, it is your body!" After awhile, he thinks about it, and then forgets what he has said. Statements by persons with dementia are taken too seriously by adult children because you knew the person BEFORE they had dementia. You want to believe they know what they are saying, but mostly you end up feeling guilty when they say things you know someday you will have to face. Everyone of us will die. It is just a matter of time. So do your best, let what she says go in one ear and out the other, remember the good times, and limit your visits. You are going to have to start separating yourself from her because she will die and seeing her decline will only make it harder for you. (Most doctors know their patients will die and they also know there is nothing they can do to stop it).
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When my mom suffered a major depressive episode (she has had many throughout the years) she was hospitalized. She would call me and beg me to help her die. The thought of death became an obsession. She also hated being at the hospital with all those "crazy people." It broke my heart and I cried many tears. I dreaded her calls at all times of day, even at work. I visited her every day and often just sat holding her tight. The illness had such a tight grip on her, she was not able to function. Activities were out of the question. The Dr and nursing staff were a huge support. I hated leaving her at night in that "awful place," but my dad assured me that they were doing for her what I could not. He would hug me when we would leave for the night and say, "she is safe here." At home we were always on a suicide watch, the anxiety was too much for us. SUPPORT FOR YOURSELF as a caregiver is critical. Mom's doc offered me counseling to help me get through my early experiences with moms illness. Dad is the only other person on earth who shared and understood what was really going on with mom. We have become 'partners in crime' in the war on depression. We help each other armor-up when necessary. Mom did get better, and came home after a few months. The depression cycles and so we have had many returns. I know your situation is different, mom is there to stay. Don't give up on seeing her. At the same time, don't be overcome by her talk of death. The care facility can give her things you cannot, but nothing can replace you in your mom's heart either. Find a friend or doc with a listening ear and share your burden. You can't fill an empty cup with an empty pitcher.
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There have been a number of threads here on this site about whether or not it's ok for someone to want to die. Short answer: people have a right to their feelings, even those.

About how to deal with someone else's feelings that trouble you: we are NEVER successful at talking people out of their feelings -- not young people either, and not ourselves. People's feelings CAN change but only if they are acknowledged first. If your mom says "You'll be better off when I'm dead" it won't help to say "Don't think that way." Say, "Oh dear! Some part of you is thinking I'll be better off if you're dead! It sounds like you're worried about being a burden to me, is that right?" Then she'll either say yes that's it, or reveal something different. Then you can have a discussion about THAT.
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It's so sad to watch our parents suffer like this. Your mother is so overwhelmed by her difficult situation.

My poor mother often talked of wishing she were dead. She just felt like she had lived her life and couldn't understand why God wouldn't take her. I explained it wasn't her time, we love her and no one knows how God works.

We had her examined by a neurologist and psychologist. The psychologist spoke to her informally so she wouldn't think she was in a session. The neurologist made some changes in her meds to help with anxiety and depression.

Your mum needs psychological help to deal with her mental and physical limitations. The NH should have a psychologist on staff or be able to get one for you.

The suggestions for activities are great but remember that you can't force her to take part or enjoy them. But give them a try. You are not a miracle worker, you are a loving daughter doing the best you can. Just keep stressing that the NH is the safest place for her.
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It is inevitable that we will all die eventually. I think all of the things shared here are so true. Be careful not to be trapped in a situation where you are bearing the brunt of the negative depression talk. It will wear on you and you deserve to live a healthy and happy life. Tell her you love her and hug her every chance you can. She will let go when the time is right.
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capnhardass - Man, you've got it pegged. Thanks so much. The only thing we can do is look out for ourselves at this point and not worry too much about their anguish since we can't do anything about it except be kind. No matter what I have tried to do to make life better for Mom, it does not work. It just keeps going downhill. the psych nurse told me the other day that "It's only going to get worse". I already knew it, but it was a little wake up call. It took me longer than some to figure it out, but you are spot on. Up until January, I was still trying to make Mom be able to live a happier life. You can't do it for others. They have to do it for themselves. We can only insulate ourselves from their negativity.
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youres are good ideas in principal and in varying degrees might even be helpful but at the end of the day these old timers are losing their minds and the life from their bodies and i dont think any living arrangement or activity is going to cheer them up much. im not saying the carer shouldnt try to make things better for them im just suggesting we dont take it personal when our efforts still fall short. my mother is mentally declining day by day and sobbing and talking to herself has become frequent. she stalls on one thought and cant be persuaded differently. if the carer tries too hard to rationalize and remedy every emotion i think you will lose your own mind and the elder will go right on declining..
so im agreeing with nans mothers doc..
alas, my mother loves to ride in a car but about 9 times out of ten she starts that anguishing shit in the car. that is very uncomfortable trapped 12 inches away from someone whos trying to devour your very emotional existance.. it can get rather annoying due to the fact that shes done this sympathy whoring thing for 54 years that i know of. it isnt getting better and will only get worse..
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It sounds like your mother, besides all her other health issues ( that is so sad), but it sounds like your Mom has depression, has anyone looked into having her meet with a mental health professional to evaluate her mental and emotional health? If she is indeed depressed there are therapies, or even medications that might elevate her mood. Also Dr Keith Ablow has spoken about how depression and dementia can mimic each other in the elderly, you can even Google " Dr Keith Ablow dementia vs depression in the elderly" and I am sure you could read up on his ideas about that, it definitely is food for thought. And I think he is right when he states a lot of elderly people diagnosed with dementia actually have depression, but some drs pooh pooh that and would rather label depressed oldsters as having dementia and drug them up[ with meds designed for dementia rather than realize maybe they really do have deep depression.

Now it does not sound like your Mom has much dementia, it actually sounds like she is suffering with confusion, but it definitely also sounds like your Mom has depression, what with her anger and not wanting to join in on activities and her talking of wanting to die, and even her new health issues, headaches, digestion issues, etc, can be caused by depression; depression absolutely can can cause physical illnesses like the ones your Mom has as well as body aches, lethargy, etc. I truly think your Mom has depression. Someone should evaluate her for that and get her the proper treatment, I would look into natural foods that help with depression before going the meds route. There are good books on foods and depressions, of course check with her drs first. I am just so leery about medications before trying foods and psychological therapy.

Now could you bring to the nursing home old movies your Mom really enjoys so she can watch them, or you and she could watch them together? Maybe you could bring a cd player and play music for her in her room, I read Vivaldi is so good for the brain, and any artists your Mom really likes I bet would brighten her mood as she listens to them. Could you perhaps introduce her to other residents there to get her to socialize so she does not feel so alone? Maybe you could ask the nurses there who the friendliest people are there and then you could introduce your Mom to them. Having friends would definitely give her a better mindset. Maybe you could bring old photo albums and you could both look at the people in the photos and share some laughs remembering those people or even remembering when the photos were taken. Is your Mom artistic at all? Maybe you could bring in drawing pads and pencils and you and she could create art together, even just doodles can help and that would give her something to look forward to each time you visit. And when your Mom talks of wanting to die you could just hug her and tell her you love her so very much. Human touch is so amazing in helping people overcome depression, fears, anxiety etc. Think of how a child yearns to be held when they feel scared or alone; as adults we still need those hugs, but we feel silly asking for them, maybe your Mom needs a lot of hugs when she talks of dying, but she feels silly asking for them. I know I love hugs and love when people tell me they love me, that is the best feeling in the world and it is free, so hehe your Mom won't have to worry about the cost, pssssst I have a mother who is all about money too, so I can sympathize with you.
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Nan, first, I think her doctor is probably right. She is not going to be happy. But keep in mind that this is Not Your Fault.

She has various medical conditions that detract from her happiness. This is Not Your Fault.

Her other children have all but abandoned her. This is Not Your Fault.

You are done everything you can think of to improve her happiness, from decorating her room to talking to your siblings. That is wonderful. Keep it up. But ultimately no one is responsible for someone else's happiness.

As for the comments about dying, "Well, Mom, you are older than I am and in the normal course of things you probably will die before I do. I don't know if that will make things easier for me, but it will make be very sad. I love you very much and want you around as long as I can have you."

This is very sad. I understand why you feel bad. I would too. Just don't get all confused and mistake sadness for guilt. Feeling sad seems appropriate. Feeling responsible or guilty is not at all appropriate.

Hugs to you for these hard times you are going through.
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