Mom with dementia keeps talking about dying. Can she will herself to die?

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Wants to go to sleep and never wake up.

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Oh Kevin. That is so sad for you.

I don't know, but can you take any comfort from her seeming to think she has somewhere she has to go? I used to tell myself that if my mother wasn't in pain and wasn't afraid, anything else was all right. So if your mother believes she needs to get back to her parents and can get there in her sleep, that sounds like not such a terrible thing for her at least. Don't you think?

Your question was can she will it to happen. I'm not so sure about that, but I'd be relieved that she was anticipating it and not afraid of it.
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Church mouse & others. First may I say Thankyou to all who responded to help. Mom is never alone 24/7. She has mobility problems and has had dementia for several years. She doesn't recognize people anymore. She thinks I work at her house. She seems to be caught and living in the 1930's with her mom & dad. She keeps saying that she has to go be with her mom & dad soon so she wishes herself to close her eyes and not wake up again. Dementia is such a nasty thing for everyone. She's losing her quality of life.
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What sort of thing is she saying, Kevin? Is she frightened, eager, sad, weirdly inquisitive, sure it's happening, asking your advice, or what?
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I'm pretty sure that a person who is not near death's door can will for death to arrive. My father tried pretty hard, and it didn't work for months. She is sad. If you are sad, too, you won't be able to cheer her up.

Consider getting a visitor or three into the house. Someone from church, or from hospice, or even a paid companion. I was always kind of sassy to my old ladies, and most of them liked it. Consider getting a pretty young girl (or boy) to bring life back. Take her to the dog park to watch and pet the doggies. Borrow a super-mellow cat to visit her. Or maybe she would prefer someone older that she can complain to.

My husband loves the Music Channel on the cable called "singers and swing." Find what she likes, maybe on the computer, like Pandora. Does she want hymns, Irish tunes, blues? It's all there.

Ask the doctor to put her on an antidepressant, but don't tell her that's what it is. Call it a pain pill or a brain pill.

The honest truth is that we can't stop someone from giving up on life. For some people, their past or present life was so bad that I can understand why they want to be dead. If she does manage to will herself to death it won't be your fault unless you have totally neglected her. We all partially "neglect" our loved one because there will always be more things we could try, but we are only human and have limits. Love her if you can, do what you can, and don't feel guilty.
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Your profile doesn't mention the dementia. Is that new?

During the first several months my husband had dementia he talked about dying, envying his brothers who had died too young to have experienced dementia, feeling cheated that he had to live with this disease, wishing he could end it, and even wanting me to help with that. And then it turned out his life wasn't over after all. We went on trips, concerts, out to dinner -- we continued our lives as best we could. He stopped talking about dying. He still did not want his life prolonged but he was not in a hurry to end it. He lived with the active symptoms of dementia for ten years.

It is possible that this is a phase of your mother's adjustment to her terrible diagnosis. It may pass. For now I'd say something like this: "You will die, Mom. Everyone does. When it is time I hope it is peacefully, in your sleep. But the timing is not under our control. If you don't want any measures taken to prolong your life I'll support you in that. Then we just have to accept what happens."

Don't brush it off or tell her she shouldn't feel that way. Acknowledge her feelings. If she has religious beliefs about hanging in there or about life after death, maybe she'd like to discuss them.

Also do everything you can to improve/maintain the quality of her life. No matter what her attitude is, she's not dead yet, and having things to do, to enjoy, to look forward to is the best she can do. An Adult Day Health Program helped my husband with this.

I'm sure this is terribly hard for you. Hugs!
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I don't know if she can will herself to die. But I'm thinking that if she's lost the desire to live, I'd call a Hospice provider to see if she's eligible. That might provide dome measure of comfort to her, if she realized that nothing will be done to prolong her life.
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