What to look for when elderly body shuts down?

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My mom is 94 and in a nursing home. She has dementia....doesnt eat anymore....she does drink water.....she is always in pain so they started her on a very small dose of morphine.
She has been displaying strange behavior and I was wondering what we should look for when her body starts to shut down.

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Expert Answer
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I'm sorry she is in pain. Talk with the doctor or nurses to see how close to death they think she is (they cannot always be accurate). Not eating is common, but also mottling (splotches) on the legs as circulation slows. If she is in pain and the nursing home can't help her be pain free, I'd see if hospice can step in. The death process can take awhile as organs start to lose their ability to function. Her strange behavior could be from pain, from the morphine or from the death process. Unless she is on the verge of dying, I'd strongly suggest hospice to help with the pain.
Take care,
When I put my mom in hospice last fall, they gave me a little booklet about the "Process" of dying. I didn't realize until then that there was a 'process'. Surely the NH has some information about that for you. Please ask them. It was nice to have it to refer to every now and then. Good luck with this part of your journey.
When my father, God love him, was on the verge of dying he was having shortness of breath which oxygen helped. He said "everything hurts all over".He never complained so this was a sign to me. He passed on within 2 days. The morphine helped tremendously. And he was peaceful when the time came. I was blessed to be with him. Sending blessings and prayers your way as this is a most difficult time. Hugs and take care.

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