I just want to cry! My parents, who are in their 80’s and live in a retirement home, have just given up on life. They are convinced that the two of them are going to die imminently. Mom is constantly in pain from reoccurring osteoporosis fractures and Dad has a faltering memory, relies heavily on a cane to walk, and arthritis makes it difficult for him to insert his hearing aids. Their fatalistic attitude has made them reclusive. Dad and Mom only leave their apartment to go down to the community dining room for dinner.
As their daughter and only child, it destroys me emotionally to see them like this. In my mind I reason that this is severe depression but in my heart, I am in a panic. When I visit them twice a week, their death is always part of the conversation and nothing I say seems to have any effect on how they feel. Dad and Mom have said that they are not planning to end their own lives, but feel they only have months left as they “are on a downhill decline that will only end one way.” Every new ache or pain is seen as a “sign” of impending doom.
What can I do? They won’t talk to a social worker, avoid family get-togethers and go into a complete panic if apart for even a few minutes. I can’t bear to watch them just sit there and wait to die. These were two active, intelligent people who traveled the world in retirement, read and kept up on world affairs. Now they sit in their living room all day doing little except for watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. I desperately want to “save” the people I love, but does one just accept their parent’s mindset or fight to keep them alive? What do you think, what can I do? written by Jane in Texas