Will to live in end stage Alzheimers?

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Dementia Talking Point' started by Fabbydo, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. Fabbydo

    Fabbydo Registered User

    Jan 21, 2015
    4
    Hello, Hoping people can help with this...... Sorry it's so long and rambling....
    My Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2007 aged 69 ( but it probably started around when my father died in 2004) I moved her down from Scotland and into a Care Home near to me in 2009. In Nov 2013 she spent two weeks in hospital after a possible seizure/mini-stroke and returned to the CH unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair. In 2014 in April and August she went through a few weeks of not eating and barely drinking. I thought this was her expressing that she'd enough and wanted to die. I was told it was possible she might rally round and amazingly she did. I've since read about how people want to please their care-givers and dutifully accept being spoon-fed - my darling mother has always been a people-pleaser and loves food! For the past 16months, Mum has been bed-ridden and has become increasingly closed down and now barely utters words. She has a very miserable look and I haven't had a smile for weeks. I can't believe that she hasn't had enough. Her teeth have begun to fall out because her gums are like sponges. I have repeatedly given her permission to die by assuring her that I'm all grown up now and that I'll be fine. Also that she's had a long and busy life but that now it's fine for her to go to rest and to join my father. The GP has suggested that I move her to an actual Nursing Home but I've visited one and read several inspection reports on local ones and they all seem to have the same issues and mostly the nurses end up doing paperwork whilst carers attend to residents.
    Nearly all the staff where she is have known her since she arrived and would act like she worked there. They are extremely fond of her and treat her gently and lovingly. I really dont' want to move her. On my worst days, I'm ashamed to admit that I consider moving her because apparently sometimes the trauma of the move can be the final straw and I just want her to be out of this endless limbo. It feels unbearable. I often worry that she's in chronic pain (form cancer or something else invisible) but she can't communicate it.
    So this is what I'm wondering - Is it possible for a mind that is so far gone to decide to give up and die? Thanks if you've actually read to the end!
     
  2. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    Welcome to Talking Point. You've clearly found us at a very difficult time.

    My mum was just like yours by the end. Losing the ability to smile is one of the final stages so may be you shouldn't be too influenced by that.

    I decided to keep my mum in her residential home, even when totally immobile and bed-ridden, as the staff had known her for years and I trusted them to look after her when I wasn't there. I even considered moving her for the reasons you give, but I couldn't bring myself to do it as I didn't know for sure what the standard of care would be like somewhere new and that was a risk I wasn't prepared to take.

    Could she have decided to give up and die? I don't know for sure, but I rather doubt it. Unfortunately nature just has to take its course but it is a dreadful way to watch your loved one go. All you can do is be there and talk to her, maybe play her favourite music and hold her hand. Just so she knows she's not alone. I do feel for you at this difficult time.

    Take care.
     
  3. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,740
    I believe that some people give up the fight but that most of us are survivors at the end of the day and fight to the bitter end!

    You are going through such a difficult time and over a long period but how wonderful that your Mum is a care home where she is so well loved and respected. I'm not sure why you are thinking of moving her but maybe the most important thing is the quality of the care she receives at the moment which gives her the love and attention we all want at the end and you the peace of mind. I am not sure but I think most of the info on moving people/death is anecdotal but also your Mum would be moved on a stretcher in an ambulance and may not notice much difference - the trauma of the move and the loss of the current safety may lie mostly with you?

    I agree with Chemmy - a peaceful environment and awareness that her hearing will be there right to the end, so music, conversation, idle chat, catching up on the day, even an audio book when your throat gets sore!! will be the things that make life better for you and calmer for her.

    Thinking of you at this really difficult time. Take care x
     
  4. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    My mum passed away on Christmas Eve so I spent a lot of time singing along to carols that last week. :) I found that much easier than trying to hold a one-sided conversation, but at least there's a chance that she might have been aware of my voice/presence.

    Radio 4 is another good choice - a variety of conversational voices and a non-shouty format, and it's interesting enough for you to listen to it too during those long hours.
     
  5. Fabbydo

    Fabbydo Registered User

    Jan 21, 2015
    4
    Thanks!

    Thanks for your kind replies - I'm feeling a little less in turmoil over this now. I eneded up playing Christmas Carols to Mum the other day. She squeezed my hand quite tightly at times and seemed peaceful.
     

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