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buster's avatar

My grandpa has alzheimer's and its very bad. I wish he would die. Is it okay to feel that way?

Asked by buster (10216 points ) October 10th, 2009

My nanny and papa took care of me growing up after school while my parents worked. My papa taught me to play baseball and throw a mean curveball. In the last 2–3 years he has had alzheimers that has progressed really fast. He still lives at home. My grandma can barely handle him. He doesn’t usually recognize grandma, my mom, uncle, me. He has started falling a lot and recently shit himself. He got out of the house at 2 in the morning and went off for a walk got picked up didnt know who are where he was. He gets aggressive sometimes lately. My mom finally talked my grandma into home health services to come to the house. I know my Papa wouldn’t want to live like this or burden and emotionally drain his family like he does. I know its not his fault. I can’t help thinking I wish he would die. I don’t want these bad memories of him. Am I wrong for feeling this way? I love him so much.

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26 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

There is nothing wrong with any of your feelings. I watched my dad die of Alzheimer’s and it is an ugly, horrid, fearful disease that robs you of your loved one before physical death intervenes.

Your love is evident. Allow yourself to have your feelings. They seem appropriate to me.

deepdivercwa55m's avatar

Dude if he suffers the only way is death. (I don’t thing he can be cured).
So that means you care about him. I believe its OK feeling this way.

FutureMemory's avatar

what pdworkin said.

jrpowell's avatar

I just wanted to say sorry.

Your emotions seem to come from concern for him instead of inconvenience of yourself. You are a good man.

augustlan's avatar

Oh, Buster. I’m so sorry. Your feelings are perfectly normal in a case like this.

Blondesjon's avatar

You have my condolences. Don’t ever feel bad about the way you feel.

Dog's avatar

I too am sorry. And I would feel the same way that you do right now if it was my loved one.
It is horrible to watch someone you love lose who they are. My father has told me numerous times he would not want to live that way and that it is the cruelest of diseases. I could not agree more.

scamp's avatar

So sorry you are dealing with this buster. it’s perfectly understandable that you would feel this way. you want to remember him the way he was in the past, a gentle loving Grandfather who was fun to be around, and not the man you deal with today. Don’t feel guilty about feeling this way. i’m sure many in your position have felt the same, but were afraid to tell others.

My ex is an alcoholic and has had 9 heart attacks. While he was in the hospital with the last one, my daughter said: “I wish he would just die already and get it over with.” I can understand her feeling this way. He is doing this not only to himself, but also to her. She is the only family member living nearby, and she has to rush to the hospital every time, only to knw one day he will end up there again because he refuses to follow doctor’s orders and take care of himself.

I feel bad for both you and your Grandmother, and all you go through. You are a remarkable person, and shouldn’t have to deal with such pain.

holden's avatar

My grandmother has advanced Alzheimers. She can no longer communicate with speech. She can’t remember who we are. She can’t use utensils to feed herself or go to the bathroom on her own. She can only be walked around or sat in front of the television.

My grandma was a Fullbright scholar to Juliard and one of the most talented people I knew. Alzheimers has reduced her to a sub-human. I would rather see her die than suffer through it any longer. I’m afraid that soon I will only be left with these memories of her and won’t be able to remember who she used to be.

So, no, I don’t think your feelings are bad. Actually, I think they are compassionate.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I’m sorry, honey, I’m sure you feel like you’ve already lost him. Don’t worry about how you feel. Cope with it any way you can & don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it. Grief is a very personal thing.

Sarcasm's avatar

Absolutely normal.
I never had to deal with Alzheimers in my family (Grandparents all died for other reasons), but my best friend growing up had an Alzheimers grandpa. We would get calls every once in a while asking if we had seen him. He got into the habit of taking walks and forgetting where he was going or how to get back.

It really is tragic. It’s awful to have to suffer through that

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Yes it’s okay to feel that way. I’ve watched a few people die from Alzheimer’s and it was terrible the amount of fear, confusion and sufferering they endured, one of them starved himself and snuck meds in order to die and I don’t blame him even though he was the most important person in my life ever. People with Alzheimers wish they could just go to sleep and die and be done with the moments that don’t add up, the fear of ‘strangers’ and realizing particular behaviors only after they’ve ocurred, if they remember at all. There is no comfort, dignity or hope with Alzheimer’s. As far as assisted care and then complete care facilities, think about it- there’s no greater betrayal than re living over and over again finding yourself basically institutionalized and surrounded by people you don’t know, my Grandpa used to be found crying all the time.

marinelife's avatar

This is a terrible situation for your grandfather, your whole family and you. I understand your feelings, and they are natural.

At the advanced stage that he has reached, it may be time to have the family consult with the doctor about his physical health. If he still have some months left or more, then perhaps institutionalizing him would be best. He would not know where he was. Right now your grandmother is hurting her own health from the stress. It is time to think of her well-being.

If he is nearing the end, he can transferred from home health to hospice.

I have had exactly the same experience of worrying because the bad memories and bad feelings overcame my good memories from before. I can hold out this hope to you. In time, once the situation is resolved, you can get your good memories and feelings back.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

loser's avatar

I’m so sorry, man. This must be really hard. I think that any feelings you have right now are perfectly normal. Hang in there.

Darwin's avatar

It is 100% normal to feel this way about someone you love who is deteriorating like this. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease. My mother also has a dementia, although her’s is from Parkinson’s rather than Alzheimer’s. All you can do is the best you can to help the rest of your family care for him. In my case, when I see my mother acting like a two-year-old, I can only take a deep breath, remind myself of some of the happy times from before, and set about getting her to calm down.

You might see if your grandma would consider or could afford putting him in an Alzheimer’s unit, thus relieving some of her burden. Since he is getting aggressive, this is particularly important. He would be horrified if he could realize who he is fighting, and would undoubtedly want the family to protect his wife from his disease.

Good luck. This is a very difficult thing to deal with, but that is what you must do.

janbb's avatar

I’m very sorry that you and your family are going through this. It is very understandable that you would feel the way you do and it does not make you a bad person. Most of us would not want to see a family member or ourselves suffer from this any longer than is necessary.

ccrow's avatar

Oh, I’m so sorry you & your family are going through this. Your feelings are normal. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease; if I had it & no longer recognized my loved ones, I would hope they would put me in hospice or something, rather than have to deal with it themselves. My mother died of cancer, not Alzheimer’s… on the last day of her life I was praying that she would die so her suffering would be over. now i’m crying

Jeruba's avatar

I understand your feelings, @buster. Perhaps this will help a little. My father had Alzheimer’s at the end. He didn’t get mean and aggressive like my father-in-law, but he was pretty helpless. Like you I worried about how I would remember him. It took about a year after his death, but in time what came back was not the sadly diminished stranger of the last months but the robust, vigorous, thoughtful and communicative older man that he had been. That’s who I remember now and not the shadow he became.

I’m not a praying person, but nearly every day I have a thought that feels a lot like a prayer: Please don’t let me do that to my kids.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I don’t have an answer for you, but I do want to say that all the answers these people gave you are also a help to me. My Mom has dementia really bad and I’ve found myself with the same thoughts as you. I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels that maybe it would be better if she just ‘let go.’

LKidKyle1985's avatar

If your grandpa was aware of his condition and what was happening to him and the burden on his family, he would probably wish the same thing on himself. I wouldn’t feel guilty because in a way you are just wishing that his ordeal end, and that’s the only way it will.

buster's avatar

I would like to thank everyone in this thread for your input, experiences, love , and suggestions on how to deal with this.

Jack79's avatar

My dad made us promise that if he gets like that we’ll shoot him. But I can’t imagine keeping that promise. My grandfather went through that phase for the last 2–3 years of his life, and yes, it got pretty ugly towards the end, but there were generally enough of us to take care of him plus we hired a full-time nurse for him in the end.
I found it funny most of the time how he’d remember some things and not others, and how his memory was generally in a mess. Could be fascinating at times. One time I remember him telling me I shouldn’t go to Prague because the Germans were about to invade Czechoslovakia.

But I understand what you mean about him spoiling the good memories. I was not around for most of those last years, and my memory of my grandfather is mostly pure, apart from those few visits towards the end. And he lived long enough for me to have seen enough of him and have no regrets.

filmfann's avatar

My parents both died before this effected them, and I do feel blessed for that.
Your feelings are normal. I am so sorry.

deni's avatar

I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this with someone you love so much. There’s nothing wrong with what you’re feeling. You don’t want him to suffer, of course. Alzheimers is such a sad thing. Basically robs the person of their identity. I’ve never gone through it with a family member, but I have worked at a nursing home, and it’s extremely sad even when you don’t know the person as well. Heartbreaking, really.

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Sunny2's avatar

A dear relative of mine has Alzheimer’s and says, “The day will come when I won’t remember your name, but I’ll always know who you are.” This may or may not be true, but assume it is. Hold his hand and talk to him. Talk about remembering things you did together or about your day’s activities. Or read to him if you have trouble talking. Imagine he recognizes your voice even if he can’t talk and tell you he does. He’ll feel the warmth of your intention and your caring.
I understand your feelings entirely.

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