Dementia Induced Thoughts of Suicide

Reblogged from 2005

Being a caregiver to a dying loved one can leave you drained of emotion, exhausted and frustrated. All normal feelings. I felt quilt mixed in my bowl of emotions. I grew up knowing my grandparents wanted to die at home. I would grant the wish if possible. They inspired me, saved me from parental abuse and blessed me with unconditional love. I felt terrible helping my Gramps make difficult life decisions. I worked hard to remember she is my grandmother.

There were uncomfortable conversations, articulate to doctors how she is progressing and butt heads with family members. I ran a tight ship, no problems telling people it’s time to leave, not allowing people over everyday. God blessed me with the ability to turn my depression away and step up to next level. Love for my Granny drove my decisions down to the last morphine stick. It can get overwhelming at times. If you don’t have a an outlet, please take 10-15 minutes for yourself everyday. I started my blog to document what I was going thru, hoping someone could use the information. Blogging gave me an outlet. Caregivers choose to open their heart to the emotional and physical challenges. Granny died 10 years ago yet I’m crying like it was yesterday. I loved her so much, it hurts so deeply.


Today I used one of four “in case of emergency” pills to keep my Grandmother from hurting herself during a dementia related meltdown brought on by my Gramps going to the grocery store. She’s had many meltdowns since her stroke almost two years ago. Today I saw the beginning of the end in her face. As I look at the three pills in the bottle, I try to accept that we will need to “ease” the trauma more times before her memory is gone.

Her strokes caused Dementia and at 84, she continues to slide away. The meds do a good job of controlling anger and aggression. When she unleashes her aggression, emergency meds are becoming the only option. We had never reached for “the emergency” stash and this sinks in as I watch her doze off from the effects. My Gramps can no longer leave the house and I take care of what they need.

Today she did not recognize her own house and thought Gramps abandoned her in some body else’s house. He went to grocery store. She became enraged and very self-destructive by hitting herself in the head saying she would rather be dead than left “here” by herself. I tried to calm her as I always do but today nothing worked. I tried to get her to focus on what I was saying but it was too late, she was lost in her reality. It was a very hard choice but a drug induced calm over self-inflicted harm was the right thing to do.

While waiting for the drug to work, I showed photos of her and my grandfather from 24 years ago, a photo of my father on a pony when he was a child. I took others off the walls to see if she could connect to anything. She recognized my dad but several other family members where a blur. It was so painful to watch her lose touch, it ripped my heart out.

Those four pills where the “holy grail” and they took me back to the night of her stroke when Gramps went home to try to nap and she got upset when he was not there. It took six of us to hold down a 82-year-old barely weighting 100 lbs . Her aggression reached a point she needed restraining. Her arms tied to the bed yet she managed to fight. I used all of my weight, laid on her to hold her down in effort to  finishing restraining her to the bed. I’m yelling at the nurse where the hell is a shot to knock her out. The nurse did not articulate to the doctor the urgency of the situation so he did not approve a sedative. I told her if she could not articulate the need, pass the phone. I would get the message across. The doctor ordered a sedative. I’m like a drunk biker chick who takes no for an answer protecting my Grandparents. I was coming to end of my rope trying to relieve my Granny. Incompetent causes the Cherokee/German, never back down attitude to come out. I spent a minimum of 30 minutes getting her up to date, stressing Granny has meltdowns more often and the doctor should order at least one tab or injection. I must have talked to myself.

Watching her lose touch with reality broke my heart, how could I live without Granny. I’m thankful for time we spent together no matter how painful. I focus on the good moments and not rehash difficult days likes this.


Categories: Advocacy, Caregiver, Survivor

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  1. You have an astonishing sense of responsibility and your courage gives you authority. This is the true meaning of family. When my partner’s Father fell ill with multiple myeloma we agreed that he would stop working to care for his Dad. The economic stress was worth it; the two of them gave each other important gifts. His Father learned that his son had courage and strength and in his passing he graced my partner with his love and acceptance.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a poignant memory for you, M., I’m so sorry that it all ended for your grands that way. I had no idea of the aggressive behavior, that must have been horrifying, even beyond the fact that they no longer recognize loved ones. They were lucky to have you to see them through to the end. It is a grand gesture, that will not go unnoticed, as your personal Karma will prove one day. I wish you only good thoughts on this painful anniversary. xoxo Van

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Van
      As always you have words to brighten my day. I started grieving the day my granny didn’t recognize me. I have a post on the extreme emotion I went through that day. I wouldn’t change anything. In that generation it was common to die at home, visit a facility and it makes sense. It was not as difficult when my gramps died, we knew the end was days away. I learned skills, more importantly I learned what I was made of.
      The aggression was horrible, my gramps started to give up because he could not go anywhere without her.
      Karma always comes around.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I went through this with my mom, flying to Florida for hheher surgeries, arranging the move up here to be close to me. But she went peacefully into that good night. I made her laugh the day before. My daughter did her nails the day she died. She should not have left my dad. He deteriorated slowly, finally going to assisted living. Near my brother. My husband and I are on medicare. My mom was. I have seen hundreds of their statements. My brother took care of everything. Nothing I said meant anything and now he is futzing with the estate, made himself executor and trustee when my dad was beyond decision making. What I did for my mom including caring for my dad through it makes me feel good but was unnoticed by my brothers. Being discounted is the worst feeling. And last day my dad was coherent it was me he recognized. To see that light when he saw me was amazing. And he puckered up to ask for a kiss when I had to leave. Incoherent next day. Gone the next. My brother notified my husband by text. But I got that light in his eyes, his last goodbye kiss, so I win.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Both my grandmothers and even one great grandmother ended up this way. I hope that I don’t follow in their footsteps. It’s a horrible end to a life. I would hate to forget everyone I love. I am sorry that you had to see her like this. It’s so hard to be in the care of someone you love and sometimes they don’t even recognize you. Your grandmother was blessed to have you to care for her. One of my grandmothers ended up in a state run care facility and it was a horrible place for her to be. They would steal all of her clothes and sometimes my mother would go to see her and she would be running around completely naked. There was little supervision and the care was minimal. She ended up starving to death in the end because the medications she was on prevented her from swallowing. She had a note in her medical chart that prevented them from giving her a feeding tube and so they just let her starve to death. I am still upset to this very day over the whole thing and because she didn’t have any money for a proper burial, they placed her body in a plain wooden box and buried her on top of my grandfathers grave at a cemetery in southern California for veterans.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As their life slips away, you’re so busy with basic care to think about the end. I would have moments to think about how I would handle the last breath. I laid next to her and gave her an extra Morphine stick to just let her go. You never forget the last breath. Everything goes thru your mind.
      I’m so glad my husband felt the same about family. I quit working and never looked back. I don’t regret anything.

      Liked by 3 people

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