My Mom (93) is in a SNF and told my Dad she was seriously considering not eating. Can she decide she's ready to go?

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Mom suffered bi-lateral strokes 2 weeks ago. Amazingly, there was no paralysis, though she has gone in and out of being lucid. Because of the my father's age and lay-out of their home, she was transferred to a skilled nursing center rather than home, which I know from prior discussions, she did not like!! During a very lucid conversation this morning, she told my father (95 y.o.) she was "seriously considering not eating". She is profoundly hard of hearing & legally blind. There is a DNR & Advanced Directive in place and a feeding tube is not an option. I totally respect her wishes if this is what she wants, but can it happen in a skilled nursing setting? Would hospice be appropriate or can they oversee something like this? Has anyone had experience with someone rationally choosing to die when they have just had enough?

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My father had a friend who made that decision, after years of dialysis 3x weekly plus a range of other diabetic complications. He reached a point where he said he had had enough and was not going to have dialysis anymore. He died a few days later.

In one of her lucid moments, could you sit down with your mother and talk with her about her decision, to find out what she's really thinking? Sometimes refusal to eat can be like a child having a nonviolent tantrum, but other times it is an indication she's ready to go.

I wish you peace during this difficult time and hope you and your family can reach a decision that helps all of you.
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I would also respect her wishes and call in hospice immediately. Good luck...
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Maggie, I totally agree and would never force her to eat. She's lived a long & wonderful life, but I respect her intelligence and choice to leave it with dignity!
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I haven't had first-hand experience with this, but I can tell you what I observed at the nursing home mom spent 2-1/2 months in after she broke her hip. There were several residents who weren't eating. Staff would encourage them, cajole them, fuss over them and do everything they could to get them to eat. Most of them did.

My advice? Let your mom make her own decision on this. Encourage her, but don't start forcing her to eat. We all deserve to make our own exit on our own terms. Honor her choice.
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