Will to Live
The will to live is a powerful tool. I have seen 100+ year olds who just will not give up. Even if wheel chair bound they will always insist on going to the bathroom in the toilet, not their Depends. They insist on living as strong and normal a life as possible even when it seems futile. Brushing their one tooth in the bathroom is soooo important. Rinsing their dentures, just going through their morning routine is soooooo important. They need to feel like you are getting ready for the day. Brushing your hair when there are only to strands to keep in place... soooo important. I took care of a women who was 105. She was still reading books, walking herself into the bathroom, not wearing Depends, eating at the dining room table. Her routine had been the same for the last 105 years. She never married, I'm sure that had a lot to with her longevity, always only had her self to care for and she did a great job. I'm sure her life was a little like living in San Diego where there are no seasons. A day in January could be a day in July. I think she just never knew that she was getting old and so just kept on going. The 100+ plus patient in the wheel chair was an athlete. He was playing tennis at 90 and won an international tournament in the 90+ category in Switzerland. he had to get all the way from Boston to Switzerland to play. Then at 96 he blew his knee out playing tennis and the Dr.s would operate cause he was too old. So now he's wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. He's 104ish. But that will to live is still there. He is however disappointed that he can't leave his only son a larger inheritance, but that's for another entry. When the will to live is gone....it's a frightening thing to watch. My mother is going through that right now. It's sad. She's only 76 but has had a hard life, again for another entry. She lives in a retirement community with wonderful caregivers that my brother abuses regularly but they have learned that he's a crazy person and so they ignore him. He hasn't fired them cause he knows they are doing a great job and my mother really likes them. I like them. But she has lost her will to live. She stopped eating just after Christmas and we didn't find out about it until mid January. My brother took her to a Dr. who said he couldn't do anything for her.... call the VNA they may be able to help her. So he did and now he has a team of nurses visiting her to asses her living situation and abilities. We have another two weeks of evaluation before we can make any determinations. She is eating now when someone is standing there watching her do so. More on that as the story unfolds. Constantly I hear patients say " I don't want to live anymore. I'm too old. I'm done, I just want to die. I never meant to live this long" etc. They keep talking like this but they still eat, still get up in the morning to do bathroom routine, still want to walk if they can. They haven't given up yet. When they do it will be evident.