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My 91 year old mom had two small strokes since last April. She lost her short term memory with the first and fine motor on the right with the second. But what bothers her the most is her loss of independence. She is now in an assisted living facility and she often wishes she were dead ( she also said this when I stayed with her for a few months before gaining into AL). How do you respond? I usually just say "I guess it is not your time" and try to divert the conversation. Any other suggestions? It makes me feel really bad to hear her say this. It makes me feel guilty for putting her in AL.

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After my mother in law said, " Oh, I've lived too long, it's time for the good Lord to take me" My husband in his humor said, "Mom. when you broke your hip he came to get you and said You keep her!" He can always make her laugh!
My mother in law will make reference to living too long but usually is said when she is feeling unwanted. It passes quickly, and she forgets about it in minutes. It does seem her timing when it rears its head is a "woe is me time" versus depression.
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MW, I think you should separate out your feelings. Feeling bad for your mother because she's tired and she wants to stop now is natural; it's a very sad thing that your mother doesn't want to live any more. But feeling guilty for "putting her in AL"? - why? She wouldn't be any younger or healthier if she weren't there, so your (very sensible) action in making sure she's looked after in a safe place hasn't had any negative impact on her. You've nothing to feel guilt about.

My mother doesn't often raise this subject, but when she does I say "it's not up to us when we die. You get what you're given." I also remind her that there is nothing wrong with her that will carry her off, not for now. I think diverting your mother, as you do, is perhaps the best thing; but if she really does want to have this kind of discussion I'd volunteer my friendly neighbourhood minister for it - do you have one around whom you respect?
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Hi, they usually say those things when they are in deep depression and that is not good. People tend to say things like that specially when they are experiencing trauma, sadness, hopelessness. They need a comfort zone wherein the attention will be diverted in to something valuable or on things which they find interesting. As we age, emotional status is not the same anymore.
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Don't let it feel guilty because you said your mom used to say it prior to her living in AL. Our elderly parents know where our guilt button is and caregivers are prone to feeling guilty all the time anyway. We just can't live in guilt. It colors everything we do, every decision we make. NOT feeling guilty is a not a sin.

I think it's the rare elderly person who does not lament on this. I've heard this same thing a thousand times. I think it's good to acknowledge it and just not ignore it. At least the first 10 times, then it's time for a different plan. How about saying, "Well, I'm glad you're not dead, I enjoy you being here. If you were dead I would miss you very much." Let your mom respond and then redirect as you see fit. But if this your mom's only topic of conversation you have to save yourself and get her going off on something else.

I agree with you, I think the loss of independence is the most difficult for our elderly parents. My grandmother cared for her father in her home for many years and swore to my mother that she would never have to do that. But then my mom ended up having to care for my grandmother for many years and my mom swore to me I'd never have to do that. Then I ended up having to care for my father in my home and I swore to my daughter that I would commit suicide first before she'd have to care for me. I'm a 4th generation caregiver, it's all I've seen in my family. I'd like to think I wouldn't put my daughter through this but who knows? I told her if I am ever diagnosed with dementia I will commit suicide one year after my diagnosis. I don't want to be saying to my daughter, "Why do I have to live so long, why can't I just die?"

Mwatermelon, save yourself.
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