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Can I ask a sensitive question re death?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Dimelza, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. Dimelza

    Dimelza Registered User

    May 28, 2013
    I'm just not sure why dementia causes death? Is it usually one of their comorbidities, or does their brain stop working to the extent it no longer tells the heart to beat or lungs to breathe etc?
    Dad has had a stroke and TIAs and is medicated to prevent further ones. But other than his worsening mixed dementia, he's as fit as a fiddle at 72. He's always been healthy. I gues I'm trying to second guess how long we have left with him.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I`m no medic but always thought as brain cells die , the functioning of vital organs is affected.

    I have seen on TP how seizures seem to heighten progression and how seemingly healthy people have a slow progression but there is always someone to contradict this.
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    It's an interesting question. There is a fact sheet of course: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=101

    Basically, immobility or side-effects of medication can contribute a lot - let's not forget that elderly people with dementia often have other health issues as well and it gets harder and harder to fight infections. If someone develops swallowing problems which is directly to do with the brain not being able to get the message across, they can develop pneumonia. Apparently that's a factor in two thirds of cases. But I've also heard of people just suddenly stopping food and drink. All you can do is make them comfortable then.

    I would try not to let it worry you too much. There are people who have lived quite a long time with it. Look after him as best as you can. That's all you can do.
  4. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    Hi Dimelza all I ca say both my parents had dementia Dad for 25 years and ended up really senile died aged 85 with cancer my Mum had dementia but her brain was very active up till the end she died aged 93 again of cancer , my Mums Brother and Sister both had dementia died aged 89 & 92 not sure what they actually died of I my self was diagnosed aged 57 & now 72+ and going strong apart last year could have gone when I had a Heart Attack but fine now,
    What will I die of and when well I’m not really worried I live for today tomorrow never comes at least today "I'm alive and above Ground"
  5. Dimelza

    Dimelza Registered User

    May 28, 2013
    Thanks so much. I've said elsewhere that dads moving in with us this week thank goodness. I'm dreading the inevitable I suppose as its bound to be me that finds him rather than a carer and I'm scared!
    Dad "died" years ago as a father figure but he's the sweetest man, so much more affectionate and caring than he ever was whilst I was growing up, that we are having a totally different relationship now.
    I hope we have many years left and his final years are spent with us, secure and happy and healthy. He's still so young!
    Tony, great stories from you! Uplifting :)

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  6. Dimelza

    Dimelza Registered User

    May 28, 2013
    Beate sorry I don't know how to quote your reply, maybe I can't from the app?
    That sheet rings true in many ways so I'm guessing we are suddenly in the later stages.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  7. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    If you click on 'respond to member' you will quote the person's reply Dimelza.
  8. Mal2

    Mal2 Registered User

    Oct 14, 2014
    Don't do that Dimelza, it will only stress you out. you wouldn't second guess if he hadn't the dementia. Take each day as it comes, and enjoy them, don't worry about tomorrow, next week or next year. It is today we live.

    My husband has had Dementia for over 12 years, it is now in the later stages, but, we still include him in everything we do. He is happy. He is also in very good health, and, I must admit, dying of Dementia is one thing that has never crossed my mind.

    I wish you many more loving years with your Dad. Hugs to you:)
  9. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    I agree with Mal.

    These 'stages' have to be very general and, as we know, everyone is different. In fact, there are quite a few different versions of the stages as you can find if you google. Interestingly, they tend to be based around odd numbers - 3, 5 and 7 - of the kind you find in fairy tales and myths. Draw your own conclusions.:)

    What we have to do is to live in the present (not easy for some of us), to find ways to assist the people we are caring for to compensate for the things they can no longer do, and ways which might help them to continue doing the things they can still do.

    And always remember: YOU are the EXPERT when it come to knowledge about the person you are caring for.
  10. Dimelza

    Dimelza Registered User

    May 28, 2013
    Yes I know you're right. I spend too many waking hours thinking about dad and what the future holds.
    Definitely need to live in the here and now, I agree.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  11. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    An excellent post, Stanley.
  12. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    Thanks sleepless.
  13. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    I understand your fear on being the one to fibd your loved one passed. This was my biggest fear, not really for myself but if i had my children with me. Mums now in full time care so i no longer have that worry. Try to live in tge present. Most of what we worry about never happens. Keep posting and we will all be here for you.
  14. betsie

    betsie Registered User

    Jun 11, 2012
    If your dad is physically fit, he will probably be in a care home if hospital when his dies.

    My dad died after having dementia for a least 10 years ( last 2 in a care home). As he was in the final stage he was eating and drinking very little for the last 6 months. He caught pneumonia and recovered in hospital but this caused a further decline in the condition and he forgot how to swallow. He was unable to eat or drink anything and died 3 weeks later.

    I did notice about 6 months prior to this, he had started to slump to one side. I have read other posts where people have said the same. Not sure if this is common or any kind of indication.

    As carers I think it would make it easier to cope if there was a timeframe, it's the endless black tunnel ahead that makes it even harder. Horrible to see the ones we love suffer and hard for us to cope with no end in sight to the nightmare.
  15. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    Slumping to one side certainly isn't always a very late symptom. Sue has been doing it, on and off, for years and I know she isn't alone in having this tendency.

    Even if a time frame were possible, and it clearly isn't, I honestly can't see how it would help. We all know we are going to die, but knowing exactly when would be horrible, wouldn't it? Why would it be any less horrible knowing when a loved one was going to die?
  16. barny

    barny Registered User

    Jan 20, 2006
    Mum had AD for 15 years and lived with us. Like you I used to be fearful of finding her dead or one of my children finding her. In the end she died in the night and I found her in the morning. It was a shock as she had not been unwell. However she looked very peaceful and I was so relieved that she died at home and in her own bed. Now a year on I feel that she had a good death and I find I don't think of the manner of her death only that I miss her. She desperately wanted to stay at home and I am so glad that she did.
  17. betsie

    betsie Registered User

    Jun 11, 2012
    For me, it would have helped. My dad had dementia for 10 years but if, when dad had become incontinent, didn't know who any of his family were, and had repeated uti's and other illness's ( when he went into a care home) a doctor could say he only had x mths left, it would have helped.

    It was the endless time frame ahead, not knowing how long he would suffer.

    My friends mum died of cancer and at the point it returned she was given 6mths. I know as she became worse and pain levels increased my friend knew in the back of her mind it would all be over in a matter of weeks and her mum would be free of pain.
  18. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    But, of course, it's not uncommon for doctor's predictions, and that's all they are, to be way out - whatever disease we're talking about. This is an issue that was widely publicised when the assisted dying bill was debated recently. The campaign was for people who had 'less than 6 months to live', to be allowed to request help in ending their lives at a time of their choosing. One of the issues was that often doctors simply cannot say this with any assurance.
  19. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    My brother who has MS was given 6 months to live some 2-1/2 years ago! No one could have expected him to live so long, so contentedly, despite having really no quality of life other than lying peacefully unable to do anything for himself.
  20. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Dimelza, I am glad that you now have a loving relationship with your father. I must say that my mum is now nicer than she used to be.

    It's natural to worry about finding a loved one dead but it really isn't anything to be scared of. I know my SIL was frightened of finding MIL during her last illness. I sent SIL to bed and hubby and I stayed over the night I thought MIL would leave us (as a retired nurse it held no fears for me). As it happened, it was only about 20 mins after SIL went to bed that mum died. She didn't look so very different from how she had half an hour previously.

    Tony, thank you for the reminder to live in the day. My own condition isn't going to kill me, I must be thankful for that.

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