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How to help grandmother w/fear of dying?

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Old 05-09-2007, 04:21 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2007
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Tivo123 HB UserTivo123 HB UserTivo123 HB UserTivo123 HB User
How to help grandmother w/fear of dying?

My grandmother turns 91 in a couple of months. She has recently started obsessing about dying and her fear of death has started to consume her every moment. She walks around every day suffering a gigantic panic attack after another, thinking about how afraid she is of dying.

We tried having the minister of our church to come by and talk to her but that didn't really help. We are also trying to talk to her and reassure her, but she just doesn't seem to want to listen.

How can we help her? What can we do to help ease her fear? It's such a difficult thing to watch this one independant and spirited woman turn into a shell of her former self. All things considered, she's not in as bad of shape as others her age (and some even younger). Considering she is pretty much in heart failure, she's still able to walk up and down the stairs at my parents' house (where she lives) and more or less take care of herself.

But her energy level is waning so much and her shortness of breath is making it harder for her to be comfortable. I hate to see her suffer because a more kind and generous soul there has never been in this world. If anyone in this world deserves not to suffer it's her. And that's why it just kills us to see her suffering like this.

What can we do? How can we help her be comfortable? She's living with my parents, has her own room, has her own television room, we bring her sweets and treats whenever we can to try to cheer her up, and she's basically surrounded by people who love her. It's almost as if, though she sort of knows it's coming to be her time to go, she's hanging on with everything she's got because she's not ready to go yet. I'm not sure how we can help her.

She actually asked me last week to talk to her doctor about getting some anti-depressants or something. Because she knows she is depressed and she knows she is panicked, and she hates the feeling but she doesn't know how to get rid of that feeling.

I don't know what to do! I just can't stand seeing her suffer like this! HELP?

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Old 05-09-2007, 05:36 PM   #2
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snoopy63 HB User
Re: How to help grandmother w/fear of dying?

I am sure it must be difficult dealing with all of that and feeling helpless. I prob couldnt help much but to say if she wants you to speak to her dr that would prob be a good idea...they could possibly give her some anti anxiety medication and that may calm her down enough to speak to a minister or some other type of counselor...
does she say what she is afraid of? Is she afraid it will hurt? Afraid of what happens after? Maybe if you get her to try and be specific maybe you would be better able to help her address that particular fear....
your family might also consider speaking to a minister or counsellor that might help all of you in handling all of this as well...

best wishes

Old 05-09-2007, 09:56 PM   #3
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Tivo123 HB UserTivo123 HB UserTivo123 HB UserTivo123 HB User
Re: How to help grandmother w/fear of dying?

We already had the minister come to try to talk to her, and she told him that she was afraid of dying, but he didn't really say much or do much to reassure her. I was really disappointed in his lack of ability to help her because he really let us down.

It's hard to get her to a counselor for several reasons. First of all, English is not her first language, so it would be very hard for her to express herself well in English. Secondly, it's very hard for her to leave the house. She can't walk much farther than what she walks inside the house, so she can't really go anywhere except to the doctor when she has an appointment.

As to what exactly it is she fears, she told me that specifically she is afraid that it's going to be painful and she doesn't want to be alone. She also said she's afraid because she doesn't know what happens in that moment and it scares her very much. She totally believes in God, but I think she still is afraid because she doesn't really know what's going to happen. No one really knows for sure, that's what makes it so hard to try to comfort her.

Last edited by Tivo123; 05-09-2007 at 09:57 PM.

Old 05-17-2007, 03:05 AM   #4
Join Date: May 2007
Location: California
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KinuG HB User
Re: How to help grandmother w/fear of dying?

To cheer her up, encourage her friends, especially ones that haven't kept in contact for awhile, to call or send a card. These small things can really make a difference to a sick person

Old 05-17-2007, 04:36 AM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
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cher1052 HB User
Re: How to help grandmother w/fear of dying?

When things became difficult with my mom getting around my neice contacted her church-they had used wheelchairs and other things that members to their church donated for others to use when needed. We borrowed a walker also. I have to agree with what was said about a simple thing like a card can do for someone-or flowers. Cherie

Old 05-20-2007, 07:06 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2006
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bkerber HB User
Re: How to help grandmother w/fear of dying?

When my mother found out she had terminal cancer, her doctors put her on anti-anxiety drugs. She was reluctant at first-she wasnt a pill popper, but we convinced her to try them and they seemed to help her keep herself calmed. I dont think at her age it would hurt to at least give them a try.

Old 07-03-2007, 03:22 PM   #7
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vicky88 HB User
Re: How to help grandmother w/fear of dying?

Hi Tivo123, how is your grandma doing? Is she still afraid of dying? I hope that by now she's gotten over her fear. Did she use to fear dying or only recently? I was thinking that she's already 90 years, she would not fear dying anymore since she has lived a full life. Try telling her that when people die, they go to a better place and a happier state. Is she a catholic? Hope to hear from you, I want to help you and your grandma.

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