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Regarding Mom who asked acquaintance to shoot her...She is in a rehab facility and does not have a UTI. She takes 2 anti-depressant meds and prior to her fall we had a lady shower her and take her out to lunch and to play Bingo twice a week, but no change. We have talked to her doctor, her therapist, family and friends about ways to deal but nothing works. Our Aunt feels we should just let her die. Asking strangers to shoot her was the last straw for us, since she is not that far gone mentally and knew that asking them this was wrong. We can't help but be upset with her and feel she's gone too far. Is this wrong of us to feel this way?

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Living with suicidal desires is hell. I agree, she needs a therapist. She may never lose the feeling of wanting to be dead, but she may be helped not to feel that she wants to kill herself.
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You shared that you have talked to her doctor and therapist, her family and her friends. Have you talked to her about her feelings of wanting to die? By asking people to shoot her I feel that she is asking for help.

If you think she's gone too far then it's time she sees a therapist for her suicidal feelings. Sometimes taking a daily antidepressant isn't enough.
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First let me say that I don't have an answer. A geriatric psychologist or psychiatrist might have some ideas.

My husband was very unhappy with the diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. In the first few months he would say things like, "Why did all my younger brothers get to die from a heart attack, and I have to hang around and live with dementia?" That first winter he would say things like, "Just put me out in the back yard and let nature take its course." After assuring him many times how much I would miss him and that we were going to work hard on finding pleasure in what time was left, I finally burst out in exasperation, "If you sit out in the freezing weather our neighbors will report it, you will be taken to a care facility, I'll be in jail and won't even be able to visit you. I will do many, many things for you but helping you to kill yourself is not one of them. So enough of this foolish nonsense!" To my great surprise he stopped talking that way. (He lived 10 years with LBD.)

Your aunt thinks you should just let her die. What are you doing that is standing in the way of her dying? Is your mom doing more than just talking about it? Does she refuse to eat or to drink or to take her pills?

How fully is she expected to recover? Have you discussed in detail with her what her life will be like when she is discharged from rehab, and what measures can be taken to improve her situation?

Can you reassure her that you will not try to prevent her death when the time comes? Can you go over a POLST with her, or help her create a new one? Explain that when her body is ready to die, it will die and you will see to it that no heroic measures are taken to intervene? I wonder if that would be reassuring to her.

And would she understand if you explain to her why you cannot cause her death, why you object to assisted suicide (at least for her). Is she able to have empathy and understand what an awful (and impossible) burden this would be for you?

I'm just thinking along the lines of taking her seriously, accepting her feelings, but being honest about the practical side of what she is asking.

My heart goes out to you. This is very painful!
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No, it's not wrong of you to feel this way. Of course you're upset that your mom is fixated on dying. Your reaction is normal. It's very upsetting to hear that a loved one doesn't want to live anymore. We feel like we're doing something wrong or not doing enough for the person and so they feel this way. We feel desperate to rectify the situation.
Do not blame yourself for your mother's feelings and actions.

I was pretty depressed last year and I really didn't want to keep going. When you can't see the forest for the trees, it's hard to be cheerful or even normal.

It sounds like you have covered all bases (therapist, medical doctor, medicines, asking friends, etc.). It sounds like she gets enough stimulation and you are looking out for her needs.

Have you asked her WHY she wants to die? Has your dad passed recently?

My mother has been saying she wants to die for about a year and a half now. She has Alzheimer's stage 6. I believe she is very tired of living and would be happier not having to suffer anymore. Does your mom feel she's suffering?

I wish I could give you a magic answer. Maybe try a geriatric psychologist.
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