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thinks he's dying or ask for us to let him die

SpanishAnnie

Registered User
Apr 26, 2018
45
My 96 yr old FIL tells us most days that he's going to die soon or asks us to let him die
Its very distressing to hear him say this and we tell him we would be very sad and upset if he did.
This has gone on for months now and I wonder if its an attention seeking activity ? We explain how he is and that what he has can't be fixed, try to get him to think about positive things, distract him with food, activities etc but he laughs at us and tells us we are 'bloody blind if we can't see he is ill'. Sometimes he demands that he sees a doctor or anyone else that 'knows what they are doing'. He has seen a doctor 4 times since he has lived with us and all the vital signs are perfect for a man of his age...one doctor said his heart was like a 65 yr old ! When we remind him that a doctor has been, he says 'he hasn't seen a doctor' he does know he has memory problems so we say that he's forgotten but he says we use that as an excuse. I have even taken to taking photos when professionals come and show him but he says they are not doctors, they are friends !

Distraction tactics don't work ..any tips ta very !!
 

Sam Luvit

Registered User
Oct 19, 2016
5,967
East Sussex
My mum talks a lot about dying, wanting to die & she should be dead. It’s upsetting & has had me in tears a fair few times. But, I now treat her comments differently, I just say I love her, that it’s not her choice & she will just have to wait & see, so she may as well keep doing things she wants while she can. I don’t know how, but I’ve managed somehow to take the sting out if it, yes I think there is an element of attention seeking, but now I don’t get upset, she doesn’t seem to push it so much

No point in arguing, proving anything, she doesn’t believe me. As the saying goes ... there is no arguing with dementia.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,164
Victoria, Australia
You don't think that the age of 96 that your FIL has come to terms with his own mortality?

At his age and even with a good heart, it would be unrealistic to expect him to live for many more years and while it is making you sad, it is something each and every one of us has to accept for those we love and for ourselves.

Why not just change the subject and continue to treat him with kindness as you have been doing.
 
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nicoise

Registered User
Jun 29, 2010
1,806
It may be that he has insight into his problems and can see and feel that his life isn’t as he would like it to be. A low mood or depression is common in dementia. My mother was very aware of her problems, and not surprisingly wasn’t happy about them - dementia doesn’t always wipe out all ‘normal’ responses.

Maybe look at it from that point of view, and perhaps speak to his GP about it.
 

SpanishAnnie

Registered User
Apr 26, 2018
45
thanks everyone for your comments, very helpful, yes I totally agree about the arguing, he does seem very good at drawing me in and wants answers, so we go round in circles
he's the same this morning as I type this, asking my husband why he can't die and its our fault, so blinking difficult, he's telling him we're not bothered he's dying, so I'll sign off and go sit with him and tell him we love him
 

SpanishAnnie

Registered User
Apr 26, 2018
45
You don't think that the age of 96 that your FIL has come to terms with his own mortality?

At his age and even with a good heart, it would be unrealistic to expect him to live for many more years and while it is making you sad, it is something each and every one of us has to accept for those we love and for ourselves.

Why not just change the subject and continue to treat him with kindness as you have been doing.
Hiya, not sure what you mean here, yes I know he's 96 and wont live forever, I think its important to tell him we love him and don't want him to die, to show him we love him & value him being around...I don't want to agree with him and say 'yes you are dying'. I do however discuss with him about dying (when prompted by him) and that how awful it is that theres no cure for him, he asks why the docs cant put him to sleep etc, so we do have acknowledgement conversations about dying. He seems to be saying he doesn't understand why he wont die, so we try to lift his spirits by being positive about his health and the things he can do. He tries to goad me into an argument as mentioned below saying we would be better if it did die, or we don't care if he did die, I try distraction tactics but he knows as tells me off for avoidance ! Bless him hey ! Changing the subject sometimes works but he always circles back, so I do think I am missing something. We have him checked over regularly, again all the vital signs OK and no UTI. Thanks
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,634
N Ireland
thanks everyone for your comments, very helpful, yes I totally agree about the arguing, he does seem very good at drawing me in and wants answers, so we go round in circles
he's the same this morning as I type this, asking my husband why he can't die and its our fault, so blinking difficult, he's telling him we're not bothered he's dying, so I'll sign off and go sit with him and tell him we love him
The highlighted section strikes a chord with me. It may not work with you, so you may dismiss it if you like, but what works with me at times is walking away. Your FIL sounds like a clever person, like my wife, and frequently I will say to her "Now we're in a circular argument, I'm away to ......" and just walk away. In my wife's case she won't take insult because she forgets within minutes - which, of course, is why the conversation gets repeated so often. I've got pretty good at shrugging my shoulders and moving on. ;)
 

SpanishAnnie

Registered User
Apr 26, 2018
45
The highlighted section strikes a chord with me. It may not work with you, so you may dismiss it if you like, but what works with me at times is walking away. Your FIL sounds like a clever person, like my wife, and frequently I will say to her "Now we're in a circular argument, I'm away to ......" and just walk away. In my wife's case she won't take insult because she forgets within minutes - which, of course, is why the conversation gets repeated so often. I've got pretty good at shrugging my shoulders and moving on. ;)
ohh thanks yes will try that ! I've plenty of jobs I can say I'm off to do ! It seems today is a bad day for him, although he's eaten a good lunch, chicken casserole in a mushroom & cheesy sauce with peas, followed by a chocolate & cream mousse...said his thanks and that he loved it, which is lovely to hear..now we are back to 'why can't I die' merry-go-round here we go ! ...now where is that glass of wine ! :) thanks and enjoy your weekend !
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,304
You don't think that the age of 96 that your FIL has come to terms with his own mortality?

At his age and even with a good heart, it would be unrealistic to expect him to live for many more years and while it is making you sad, it is something each and every one of us has to accept for those we love and for ourselves.

Why not just change the subject and continue to treat him with kindness as you have been doing.
I agree with the first paragraph. It's often said that some of the very elderly feel they have had enough of life, outlived the pleasure of living. Their friends have all gone, they want to join them.
Current family and younger friends, don't seem to feature, "I've done it all, now I want to go."

Bod
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
I have to agree with Bod. My granny's 2nd husband was a very jolly old chap who lived into his 90s, no dementia and no real health problems.
But not very long before he died - of nothing in particular - he wasn't ill - he said to my mother, 'I'm tired. I've had enough now.'
I dare say he's not the only one to have felt like that.
 

SpanishAnnie

Registered User
Apr 26, 2018
45
I understand what everyone is saying about end of life thoughts, had enough, tired, friends gone etc....but that’s not what I’m asking about...
As my OP asks at the end...any tips to support someone who keeps talking about it and ask us to help him die?
Distractions don’t work
He gets annoyed if we change the subject
We talk openly & sensitively about end of life
We don’t argue with him

Maybe we are doing all we can and that’s that, just though someone else has experience in this area. I’ll have a check elsewhere
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
I understand about distraction not working - never did with either of our PsWD either.

I know how wearing it is when someone has a been in their bonnet and keeps endlessly asking the same question or bringing up the same topic. When he asks you to help him die, can you not just say in a matter of fact way, Sorry, we couldnt possibly do that, because we'd go to prison - and repeat as necessary? I know this sort of repetition gets very wearing, too - my FiL would bring up the same thing again and again and again and again, and the only way I found to cope was to make a sort of separate compartment in my head, where I could go on answering nicely, but (albeit not obvious to him) mechanically. Until I found a way to do this I would often want to scream!
 

doodle1

Registered User
May 11, 2012
248
This is probably going to upset everybody but both my mother and mother in law kept saying over and over again that they wished to die. On the recommendation of a psychotherapy book I had read , I used to say the following: ' oh dear I'm sorry but if you're really serious ,I know a gun shop in Fulham and I'm sure they will sell me a gun' and if they continued I'd tell them both I could get a deal on a job lot.
Funnily enough they stopped after that. It was incredibly effective.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,164
Victoria, Australia
This is probably going to upset everybody but both my mother and mother in law kept saying over and over again that they wished to die. On the recommendation of a psychotherapy book I had read , I used to say the following: ' oh dear I'm sorry but if you're really serious ,I know a gun shop in Fulham and I'm sure they will sell me a gun' and if they continued I'd tell them both I could get a deal on a job lot.
Funnily enough they stopped after that. It was incredibly effective.
A friend's mum is ailing with AD and lots of other problems.
One day her mum said to her daughter 'Do you think I could die tomorrow?,

Daughter's reply was 'Well, you can if you want to!'
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,304
A friend's mum is ailing with AD and lots of other problems.
One day her mum said to her daughter 'Do you think I could die tomorrow?,

Daughter's reply was 'Well, you can if you want to!'
Wonderful!!

Bod
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
This is probably going to upset everybody but both my mother and mother in law kept saying over and over again that they wished to die. On the recommendation of a psychotherapy book I had read , I used to say the following: ' oh dear I'm sorry but if you're really serious ,I know a gun shop in Fulham and I'm sure they will sell me a gun' and if they continued I'd tell them both I could get a deal on a job lot.
Funnily enough they stopped after that. It was incredibly effective.
This is probably going to upset everybody but both my mother and mother in law kept saying over and over again that they wished to die. On the recommendation of a psychotherapy book I had read , I used to say the following: ' oh dear I'm sorry but if you're really serious ,I know a gun shop in Fulham and I'm sure they will sell me a gun' and if they continued I'd tell them both I could get a deal on a job lot.
Funnily enough they stopped after that. It was incredibly effective.
Oh, dear, I have to say that did give me a wry little laugh!

Well before she got dementia, my mother would so very often say she might as well take an overdose. She had never really been properly happy after my father died, but it had become a sort of mindless habit with her. She even said it once when I was taking her - on a lovely sunny day - for a short break in Bath! Talk about (me) feeling exasperated! She did always tend to be a 'glass half empty' type, though.

More than once I honestly felt like saying, 'Well, if you really feel like that...'. I never did, since she would nearly always follow it up by saying that she wouldn't, since she thought she'd be 'penalised', I.e. her belief that it would mean not being allowed to meet up with my father again. She wasn't particularly religious, but that was what she believed.