Anyone else dealing with a parent that has just given up on life? - AgingCare.com

Anyone else dealing with a parent that has just given up on life?

Follow
Share

Over the past couple of months I have noticed my MIL has stopped doing things that used to be a daily activity for her. She stopped with the weekly stuff first, not going and having her hair done, not grocery shopping, just not doing anything. I know she had hopes of getting rid of the walker after her surgery, but she has no balance and she shuffles more than walks. I have tried everything I know to encourage her just to try walking and practicing going up and down stairs, to no avail.


Then mom started to sleep all the time I actually have to wake her to go to the bathroom. She won't go to bed any earlier than 11pm, and doesn't get up till I wake her at 9am. But it's the day time that bothers me more. She is almost always falling asleep. I talked to her doctor and I have to take her in before her regular appointment to have her checked.


The biggest concern I guess is that she doesn't always come fully awake. She enjoys her dreams, everyone is in them that has died, so she can pretend. Only problem is she will look right at me and doesn't have a clue where she is. There are several possible medical reasons for this but the last month I can see a change in mom. She is just waiting to die.


I don't know how I'll handle this but her doctor is great and my family helps as much as they can from a 2 hour distance. I am more worried about how my family will be? I update them sometimes daily, kind of trying to prepare them for what I see coming.


Anyone else? What do you do?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
9

Answers

Show:
Black, this is purely anecdotal, but my Dads dementia increased profoundly after a hernia surgery about 4 years ago. It seemed to particularly worsen his short term memory.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Good insghts here. Another thought: Anesthesia can be rough on the elderly. Especially the 80+ gang. I've heard it's common for oldsters to have post-surgery personality changes or dimished mental acuity or physical weakness that are a reaction to the amnesia. And I've been told that the nagging issues can last for weeks or months. Some folks say that their loved one was never quite the same again. Ask around about this. (Nurses and rehab specialists might be more forthcoming about this than doctors -- for obvious reasons.) In the meantime.....if anyone on this forum can shed some light, please do. And if I'm way off base, just say so! Mostly going on hearsay.....but I've heard it more than once.....
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Correction to above: I meant your MIL.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Based on your description of your mom, I would discuss a good medication that might make her feel less depressed and feel less pain. My loved one is on Cymbalta and it works very well in bringing her contentment. Of course, everyone is different, but I would discuss it with her doctor and see about adjusting her meds to deal with her comfort.

I've read a lot about seniors with health problems who are just tired when they reach the 80's or 90's and want to rest in their remaining days. It's their right, IMO. I would try the meds first to see if they lift her spirits. Once her mood is much lighter, she may have more interest in daily life. If not, then I would just support her in the way she wants to spend her time.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Judy look at it from Mom's point of view.
She hasn't given up on life
Life has given up on her.
Kidney failure and CHF can make you feel nauseated and and fluid accumulates in the legs, lungs and elsewhere. She probably has to take water pills and it would be good to encourage her to continue with these for comfort. other meds you can discuss with the Dr. Cholesterol lowering meds are a good example of pills to stop
It is not unusual for people to want to isolate themselves towards the end of life and after eliminating obvious conditions the aim should be to provide anti depressant, anti anxiety and pain meds. She needs to offered foods she loves even if they are not "good" for her. offer very small portions and present if attractively. let her sleep as much as she wants but make sure she does not stay in one position for more than a couple of hours to prevent excessive pressure and possible sores. When she has no where to go she does not have to get dressed as long as she is kept clean. Don't start running from Dr to Dr and having lots of tests.
Mom isn't doing "it" is is a natural progression and you are right to be prepared for the end of her life. Many people live for the rest of their lives waiting to be reunited with their spouse, others are able to move beyond and make a new life but even if Dad was still alive she would not behave differently. She knows time is short and she is very prepared for it. It may not be easy for you and the family to prepare for the end but it is best to be honest about what is happening. Many Drs find it difficult to accept that one of their patients is dying but as you have seen all the encouragement in the world does not change anything.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Mom has other heath problems too, CHF, her kidneys are stage 3 of kidney failure, she maybe close to being diabetic, and a few other things topping them all with depression. That started 11 years ago when dad died, she never got over that. She was spoiled all her life till then and behaves the same now.

She was so regimented in every part of her life, getting very upset when her plans were thrown off for any reason. Her surgery, a knee replacement just high lighted her other problems, which include balance. She only had it done to rid herself of that walker, and feels she got screwed when she couldnt. At 80 mom can be a very difficult person to take care of.

Maybe I'm not explaining myself well, but the last month I can see the difference. Things she used to enjoy she doesnt do, she is, except for me cause I now live with her, isolating herself. I have tried everything, but you cant force someone to do anything. She has just given up, she wants to be with dad and away from everything else. Nothing holds her attention anymore. My grandkids came to visit and she fell asleep. Both her doctor and I have talked to her about it but mom stubbornly refuses to change anything. Infact she keeps wondering if she can stop taking her meds cause they dont do anything she says.

I understand some of it but I see what she is doing and I have to prepare myself and my family. When someone looses the will to live no one can force them to change.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

How old is your MIL? Depression? Pain? Dementia? It may be simply she is getting tired of the battle. My Moms only reason for living is to care for my Dad With his dementia. If he dies before her I know she will not keep fighting with all her illneses, pain, depression and the struggles of old age. I'll do what I can for her but I can't see trying to convince her that life is great and to keep on fighting. Her life has been miserable for 15 years and will be worse when Dad is gone.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Just thought of something else.... if she's resistant to doing home PT, provide her with a treat afterwards, something she really enjoys, even if it's food that's not the most healthy...if she can look forward to the reward, it might make therapy more tolerable. And unless she has physical issues that prevent her from walking, the therapy can help her balance greatly, and that could improve her attitude.

You might also take her back to her surgeon for x-rays to ensure that there are no lingering problems.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Few comments.

The daily activities, personal upkeep, etc. might be as a result of mobility but also from depression. And they work and feed on each other. If there's a way you can get her out, just out of the house even for a drive, it might help restart her interest in life. I've noticed a vast difference every time we do this.

Children, babies, pets and music are also good therapy. Can family bring over the youngest members to interact with mom/MIL? That's a good way for them to participate as well as see what her situation is.

As her mobility declines, so can her interest level. Ask her doctor for a script for home PT; she might be a bit resistant or disinterested, but if the PT has worked with older people, he/she might be able to motivate your mother (or is it your MIL) to become interested. I've found that better than that is actually going to a PT facility where there are multiple therapists who can work with your parent on different days. It's a social opportunity for older folks and can really be helpful.

Your mother/MIL probably feels overwhelmed. Try to work on one little aspect at a time to help her realize she still has control over her life, and that her mobility can be addressed. She's far from being in as bad a situation as many people are.

As she becomes more disinterested, I think she will turn to sleep as an escape pattern.

Start thinking of things you can do at home to spark her interest. What did she enjoy doing? Try listening to her favorite music, making her favorite foods.

Honestly, I don't see that sleeping from 11 pm to 9 am is excessive at all. If she falls asleep during the day, she's probably not getting enough at night, or she just doesn't have the energy.

Ask the doctor to do blood work up to make sure there are no glaring abnormalities, especially that she might be anemic. Make sure she has some energy generating food with each meal, and cut the high sugar food if that's part of her diet.

I think what you're facing is creating an unstructured but planned program of small activities, one at a time, to regenerate her interest. You can also ask her doctor about an anti-depressant, although my personal preference would be to use natural things rather than meds as a first start.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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