Mum wants to end it all: My 92 year old mum... - Care Community

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Mum wants to end it all


My 92 year old mum has been in a care home for 2 years now as her physical needs are too great for me or my 2 brothers to care for her at home. She lived with me for 5 years and one of my brothers for 2 years but then she got sick and ended up in hospital for several weeks. We all visit as often as we can and shes always pleased to see us but she just keeps saying she wants to just go to sleep and not wake up. Shes had enough. They shoot horses dont they? She doesnt really go out of her room much out of choice, shes not that sociable. She really doesnt have much quality of life anymore. She is mentally quite with it does crosswords and plays scrabble although just lately shes saying she cant remember things. Her biggest complaint is that when she needs to open her bowels and rings for assistance the girls sometimes take a long time to answer and she has to wait. She needs to be hoisted on and off a commode these days. She hasnt been able to get up or walk for 2 years. She has been very independent all her life and finds it really hard now that she is totally dependent. Its so upsetting to see my mum like this and I feel so guilty that we had to put her in a home. Im sure there are lots of families in this situation. I just wish I could come to terms with the guilt and learn how to deal with it.

12 Replies

Hi, I found your post so sad yet understandable from your dear mums point of view. She must be very tired of her life and the way things are now.

Guilt is such a terrible thing too yet we all carry it like a very heavy load at some point in our lives. Please shed your guilt as you and others have done and are still doing the very best for mum.

Wishing you well. Xxxxx


This could my story. We had to put my mother in a home as she couldn't manage alone. She is 102 and wanted to die years ago. She, too, prefers to stay in her room and not join in activities. There is no answer. As far as the toilet problem goes, have a word with the manager of the home and explain that your mum needs to go without being kept waiting. It is something she should be entitled to, but if she is using a hoist, it will take 2 members of staff to deal with her and they might be busy elsewhere.

Before you feel guilty be realistic about what alternative there is. It is clear that you cannot possibly meet her needs and if you tried you would be feeling equally guilty about the times you were not able to get things right for her. You are grieving for your mother's lost health and happiness but you are doing what you can to help her and there really is no reason to feel guilty. You can't turn back time; no one can much as we would all like to

Hi RhubarbCeleriac and welcome to this caring community. I am sorry to hear things are so difficult for you all. As exhausted wife has posted, do speak with the manager of the home about the issue regarding your mum using the commode. Also, it would be helpful to discuss with them her low mood and how this can be helped. It is positive that your mum likes to engage in activities. Increased activity and engagement can have a positive effect on quality of life and contribute to other important outcomes. Does the care home have an occupational therapist who could assist with this? As Sassy59 has posted, please shed your guilt and know that you are doing the very best for your mum. Are any other forum members able to help RhubarbCeleriac, please? Keep posting and take care.

Thank you and best wishes.


Hi RhubarbCeleriac,

Firstly, so sorry to hear that your mum feels she no longer has the greatest quality of life, but also that you are guilt ridden at not being able to do more and care for her at home any longer.

I think everyone else who's replied has given good answers. That you have to somehow try to put down that burden of guilt. I know it's usually not actually possible in most cases, but I'd say, try anyway. It's not your fault that the end stage of life sometimes turns out to be awkward and complicated and messy. We none of us have power over life and death and although you bring up the fact that 'they shoot horses', the fact is that we don't shoot humans, and whatever your view on that, it's probably best that we can't, even though in some cases the individual truly would wish to be shot!

We really have to deal with the 'what is', rather than the 'what we wish it was'. So, your mum is safe, warm, and well cared for. You visit when you can, and I think that, after that, at 92, she's entitled to a bit of moan about being ready to go. She's had a long life and probably seen as much of it as she wants to, but now has this testing period before she actually does depart.

I'd say just tell her that you understand how she feels, but please will she try to stay with you all for a little longer, even if she's finding it tedious, because you can't bear to let her go yet. It may not make her change her opinion but it will reassure her that you care for her very much and you aren't just visiting whilst waiting for the day when she will be no more. Often we think our loved ones know perfectly well that they are wanted and loved, but I don't think it can do any possible harm to actually say that, for a bit of extra reassurance.

Sending you and your mum the very best of good wishes.

Its all terribly sad and one feels at a loss of what to do and I do sympathise.

And in a way it is far worse for your dear mum as she seems to still possess her ability of reason,whereas my partner has little idea of day or night,summer or winter and he is more than twenty years younger.

My strong faith tells me that life is always worth living,but my faith is now wavering as there must be a kinder way to die.

I'd probably feel the same in similar circumstances. For a person to gradually lose their dignity is demoralising , and your Mum sounds like she was an independent and self reliant woman, possibly not interested in the same things as others. It is unfortunate that she has to wait to get her toileting needs met, and unfortunate that she doesn't want to socialise, but folk of her age were fiercely independent (with the Wartime strictures), and she probably worked, so perhaps feels she has little in common with the other residents, some of whom are quite a lot younger. When an elderly person is isolated like this, it is easy for them to sink into depression. I'm 71, and a former nurse, and I noticed the same with my parents, although they were realatively independent to the end. Try to visit as often as possible, and take her familiar things to help keep her mentally active. Photograph albums are often a good way to help and she may be able to tell you of her life back in the day.

Clearly you did the right thing by obtaining a place in a residential home where your mum’s needs could be properly met. It would not have done her any good to remain with you and in fact the outcome could have been worse because you could have become ill yourself due to the impossible task of giving 24 hour care. Please don’t feel guilty - there is no need and in any case she would probably have felt worse at home because she would have had to rely on you.

Have you discussed end of life care with your mum, her doctor and the staff? Does she have a do not resuscitate order in place? If she gets a chest infection or other illness does she want treatment withheld? The automatic response is to give antibiotics but perhaps she has the right to refuse if she has indicated this. I don’t know what the current stance is but if she knew that there would be no intervention maybe it would give her some peace of mind.

It is a sad situation for you all and this scenario which many of us dread.

I sympathise. My mother was aged 95 with a broken neck and had to stay lying in bed in a care home in NZ. Family visited her for long periods each day, but she didn't want to be a burden on anybody. Her mind was as sharp as ever and when she stopped taking food she knew exactly what she was doing. She knew I was coming over from the UK to see her, so she waited until a day or so before I arrived and then she stopped taking fluids. It was not pain free. When she complained of pain the staff didn't have anything that would help so they called a doctor, who gave her an injection and soon afterwards she passed away. In NZ, as in the UK, euthanasia is illegal, but they are allowed to prescribe strong painkillers which may sometimes bring an earlier death. As a nurse, many years ago I took the Hypocratic oath, which includes 'Thou mayst not kill, but needs not strive officiously to keep alive'.

Thank you so much to all of you who have replied to my post about my mum. We all have different issues/stories of how our loved ones who we care for are affecting us. None are better or worse than others just different. Your comments have been very helpful and some brought me to tears once again....there's been lots of tears over the past couple of years. I will take your advice and try and let the guilt go a little. My mum knows we all love her and I will keep on telling her. She tells me too and tells me how lucky she is to have a lovely daughter, bless her. Its a very difficult time for everyone but I know some residents in care homes are not so fortunate. Some dont even get visitors. How tragic is that. Thank you to all who took the time to reply.

We're in the same position with a 95 year old man ,we're in the throws of getting him in a home close by .but his needs dictate the type of home required,it seems to be going on and on ,he was a very mobile person upto entering hospital but now cannot walk,so we're now waiting,,,

She has lots of quality of life if she can still tackle her puzzles. My Mum's Nursing home bought her a brilliant chair last year and I said she really has no quality of life as she only squeezed my hand and the Essex area co ordinator for (I knew Bernard when he was the manager of her home) said that is still quality of life. Try and take her out if it's possible we bought mum a wheelchair when she was still a little able and we went to the pub round the corner for lunch and into the home's gardens I have a lovely pic of my eldest daughter and mum outside in the sunshine at one of the home's fetes! Do they have a good activities coordinator at the home? Sounds like she needs stimulation both physical and mental. At mum's home they had great games of balloon tennis. At this stage mum was past all that but she used to join in and I used to take my grandchildren in to join in too the residents loved seeing them. No so much my mum but that was mum. All my cousins were afraid of their Aunty Betty 😂

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