Mom wants to die. Is this depression?

Follow
Share

My father passed away 15 months ago. I moved them in an apt. next to me before he died and he passed away in the apt. Since then my mother has made repeated remarks about wanting to die also. I know that this may be normal but felt it should subside after time. It has not. She has dementia and cannot remember some things but is able to live on her own.She doesn't want to be a burden to her children and has chosen to live alone. Because she is next to me, I visit her often in short intervals. I see she is depressed. My family only sees her periodically and she is normally happy to see them and does not appear depressed to them. I had the doctor put her on a antidepressant but my sister said she wasn't depressed and my mom got off of them. Is the feeling of wanting to die subside? Any conversation about this would be helpful to me. I have no one to talk to.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
10

Answers

Show:
Your sister says she is not depressed? Does she act happy when she is with your sister, but depressed when she is with you? Sometimes they put on a show to get the most attention. My MIL is fine with me and son #1. When she is with son #2 she is miserable, critical and argues with him. He is starting to learn how to redirect her attention to something happier, and walk away when she starts to criticize him. It amazes me how different they can be depending who they are with.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Wandakay my mom says she's ready to go all of the time. Probably 5-10 times a week. My dad died five years ago and my mom is the only sibling left of five. She has two friends who live far away and one just went into a nursing home and can no longer write. I have a brother who calls her once a week. So it falls on me to meet her every need.

I felt she was self isolating (she lives in an independent living facility, so could socialize a lot if she wanted to). I took her to the doctor to see if she'd prescribe an anti-depressant and/or an appetite stimulant, since she's losing a lot of weight. The doctor basically told me that my mom was happy (she denies she's depressed) and the doc refused to give her anything. At first I was TICKED but it finally gave me permission to let my mom make her own choices and to live with the consequences of those choices. Before I was trying to control her life and it was making me crazy. So now she's happy and I'm happy.

And even though she's "ready to go" whenever she has any kind of medical hiccup, she calls me in a panic, wanting to go to the ER. Which is kind of funny. :) So hang in there...
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Wanda, thanks for the responses on you mother's situation. It's hard to create a social life when your mother doesn't want to participate. I was thinking maybe the family could Skpe with her, but she may not be interested in that, and it may seem too "futuristic" or technical for her.

It does really sound as if her isolation is prompting the "want to die" comments, but I don't know how to get her involved socially if she refuses to.

Maybe others will have some suggestions.

I'm not one to turn to medicine except as a last resort, as I firmly believe that music, pet and people therapy are preferable, but perhaps it might be appropriate as a bridge back to normalcy.

It's unfortunate that your sister intervened when she shouldn't have.

I also would normally not misrepresent a situation, but perhaps you can tell your mother the anti-depressants are a vitamin and not just tell your sister that Mom's taking them. Apparently your sister doesn't participate that much in your mother's care anyway.

When your sister visits, try to be there with your mother so your sister can't intervene in her medical care.


she is sick or when she is alone for a long period of time.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mother also isolates herself, wanda. She will go to church on Sunday and out to eat, but doesn't care to go other places. She only has one friend, who is very busy, so has little time. This isn't a recent thing. She and Dad were hermits their whole lives. I don't expect that to change now, but it is a huge burden on me to provide some company for her. I am the only person she has, since her nearby son is very busy with his own family and church family. The other son is too far away.

I'm glad my mother is content to watch TV most of the day. People may say that it isn't good for her, that she needs to stay active. Since there is only me, I don't press her. I do suggest that it's a beautiful day to go outside or say that the local restaurant has some catfish. Strange thing is that if I ask her if she wanted to go for a walk or out to eat, she would say no and it would end. I have to plant the suggestion and let her ponder it herself. It gets around the wall that many hermits build.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Isolation is symptom of depression.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Your mom's depressed. Her wanting to die because she's lost your father is not uncommon but it should be addressed. And unless your sister is a Dr., and more specifically, your mom's Dr., she really has no business coming around and arbitrarily making decisions about which meds mom should and should not be on.

Did you see an improvement when your mom was on the anti-depressant? If so, see if you can get her back on it. No one can tell if her feeling of wanting to die will subside. Have you talked to her about it? Why does she want to die? It's OK to have this conversation with her. Make sure you let her have her feelings as opposed to, "Oh mom, c'mon now! You don't want to die! Look how blessed you are!" Let her talk about how she feels.

Many elderly people want to die. They lose a spouse. They realize they're not as sharp as they once were. They don't have any friends. Their health isn't what it once was. They're lonely. And while an anti-depressant should be tried to see if it helps, it's not going to change your mom's circumstances.

Your mom is lucky to have you watching out for her.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

mom has isolated herself completely. The last couple of months she doesn't even want her children to come see her. This disturbs me. She never was a social person so getting her out doing things has been a struggle for me. She will go to walmart and to the doctor and that is it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Trying to think back - she normally says this when she is sick or when she is alone for a long period of time. I think she is depressed but no one will support the idea.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Jessie offers very good insight. Sometimes the grief after loss of a life-long partner can make the surviving spouse feel so lost and lonely that death is indeed appealing. And it could be that she also senses her own decline and that's a contributing factor. Or it could be that she wants attention and encouragement from you because she does feel lonely and afraid.

Are there any other relatives who could come visit, even if they have to drive a few hours? Social interaction can be a countermeasure to depression and loneliness (especially if she can hear enough to interact with others).

Do you go anyplace that offers just leisure time activity, such as lunches, dinners, (free) musical events, concerts ... events that are cheerful? Maybe even a visit to a greenhouse - I've never yet left a greenhouse without feeling upbeat.

Are there any neighbors who have pets or a dog park you can visit? Pet therapy has been documented to have healing power.

Does she like music? Check your local areas, especially the United Methodist Churches, for free concerts, which will be beginning shortly for the summer season.

Is there a senior center where you could take her to interact with other seniors?

If you can get her more involved in happy activities, it might help her balance the sadness in her life.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

wandakay, I know how disheartening it is. Do you think she really wants to die? or do you think that she could be expressing anger or missing your father? My mother often says "I want to go be with Daddy" or "I just want to die," but she doesn't really mean them in a hard sense. Sometimes with her it's because she's angry at me or at life in general. Sometimes she does it in order to get her way. Sometimes she does it when she's missing my father. I can usually figure out which it is by what lead to it. If it's anger I don't react. If it's missing him we spend some time talking about him. My father has been gone 2 years now and she has stopped saying it so much. I don't remember her saying it at all for the past couple of months. If your mother is like mine, it will get better. It just takes a while.

I just thought about something -- My mother has been on Celexa for two months now, so maybe that has something to do with it. Perhaps she is feeling better. She has even been friendly for the last two weeks. This is from a person who had been miserable for years.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.