Quality of life explanation? - AgingCare.com

Quality of life explanation?

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If you have a family member that thinks when someone has dementia and stops eating and drinking on their own and have to be fed that it is time to "let them go ahead and pass on" to stop feeding them, how do you explain that this person is physically well (which is true) but because the brain neurons have stopped firing is why they can no longer function. It doesn't mean they need to die. I need something kind, simple and all encompassing to say in response. I think this comes from not understanding the disease and not being with the patient.

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"It is so kind of you to be interested in my loved one. I have thought about this a lot and have come to my decisions based on many factors. I respect that if you are ever in my situation you may make different decisions."
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Quality of life varies based upon the person. When my grandpa was getting closer to death, he would not follow doctors orders because they were not making him feel better, they were just extending his time. He would always have me sneak him beer because it made him happy and it was his choice. He said he knew he was dying and he was going to do what he liked. It is best if you asked yourself, if my family member had control of the decision, how would they rate their quality of life and what would they want?
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cwillie, if it was me, just let me go, there is a better place beyond. Please.
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Pam, you are right if you are talking about forcing food at the end of life. I am reading this more as someone who hasn't reached that stage yet can no longer feed them self, someone who no longer knows when they are hungry, someone like my own mother.
I have thought more then once that I could simply stop feeding her. She wouldn't ask for food. She wouldn't complain. She would just gradually weaken and die, and no one would ever suspect it was anything but the natural progression of the disease.
We caregivers hold an awesome power and responsibility in our hands.
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How do we decide if a life is worth living? I have often heard people say "I'd rather be dead than..." about a countless number of ailments.
Is life worth living if you are deaf? Blind? A paraplegic? A quadriplegic?
What about all those soldiers that have come home without limbs, should we have left them to die?
How about the mentally ill and cognitively challenged?
Why is it only the old whose life is not seen to have value?
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There is more to it than that. At the end of life, the body can no longer properly process food. Feeding can cause stomach upset, vomiting, lots of painful gas and diarrhea. So they choose not to eat. Respect that decision, offer comfort. That family member is not dismissing your feelings, but attempting to get you to accept the patient's choice.
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I think it also comes from an insight you have which many people don't, and couldn't achieve. It isn't easy when someone reaches that stage of dementia to be compassionate and to see value in living despite loss of cognition. You seem to have a gift for seeing the positive aspects of a situation.

I have no answers; I would struggle with that question myself, but I'm anxious to read what others write.
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