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Talking about sucide
Welcome to the forum. I also am a physician, and my partner also many times said the same thing. I recently had to put her in memory care, and she always expressed the wish to "just be shot" rather than live in such a setting. We lived on a farm, and there were firearms available, but I locked them up. And I don't think she ever was truly suicidal; other family experiences and her own background (master's in psychology) kept her from that. Right now--a month into memory care--I can't even visit or talk to her because it is perseverative about going home, I am a trigger for her and have been advised to just stay away for now.
I have more empathy and understanding than suggestions. I don't know if there's a way to just listen and not respond? Or again, perhaps part of the solution is just to keep your distance while she adjusts. Perhaps she does this more with you than your sister, because of the medical connection? Maybe your sister needs to be the primary family connection right now, if that's possible.
Boldly and said with love and understanding, I would suggest "listening".
Your mother's feelings are understandable...she is in her senior years...is ill, her husband has a horrible terminal illness, she has been uprooted. The future is not gay. It will be terribly hard to listen to suicide plans but...
Speaking only for myself I hate the "Annie" approach....the sun will come out tomorrow. Instead please hear me, hold me close, be my rock. Do not make me put all my effert into making you feel that I am OK because I am not. Allow me my sadness, my fears. Hear me before you offer a distraction.
This is a very common theme among many with dementia. More then
happy to speak to you about it.
Welsh, hi and welcome. The talking about suicide is nothing new coming from your mom as you said they have been saying this for 30 years. So your mom was saying this before dementia. I agree with what Jfkoc said. Just listen to your mom. That doesn’t mean you have to do anything. Just listen to her.
A few years ago my husband became very suicidal. He was having severe panic attacks. I ended up having to call 911 to get help for him. He told the sheriff that got here before the ambulance, that he was going to do it and he told the medical people, even the doctors in the er. He ended up having to spend a week in a mental hospital. His doctors finally got him on the right meds that have helped him. He has Alzheimer’s and he also suffers from PTSD. Before all this he would never have even though about suicide. That was truly one of the scariest times of my life.
Praying for you and your family!
Thank you, everyone, so much for the suggestions. I know that many out there are going through something similar— just knowing that really helps.
These conversations are happening by phone, and I’m fine with listening. She is looking for me to make some sort of statement. My go to statements are “I love you. I know your wishes and I’ll do everything I can to help you.” She wants me to say the words “I will kill you so you don’t suffer.” I can’t say it, even if I know it’s a lie.
I think she is having some sundowning and these thoughts are more common at night. So I avoid calling her after dinner, so that I’m not triggering her.
Wishing everyone here and their loved ones peace
ways to respond