What are the signs that an elder is getting ready to die?

Follow
Share

My 78 year old mother suffered a stroke in March followed by a broken hip in April and then entered a nursing home in which she has just laid down and given up on life. Her dementia is such that the doctor consider's her no longer able to conduct her own affiars. She refuses to get out of the bed or to do anything with PT. She's now sleeping more than usual, basically has to be helped to eat a meal, does not talk as much as usual and today I was not even sure she knew me and anyone else. I got the impression that she is withdrawing into herself.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
47

Answers

Show:
When a person stops eating, it is often because the body is shutting down and can't process the food. That, of course, is a sign she is dying. Withdrawing into herself could be another sign.

She has been through a great deal of trauma and could have lost the will to fight anymore. My mother used to say to me, "Can't you just give me a little black pill?" She was so tired of pain and misery, even though we did everything we could to make life better. Of course, all I could say was, "No, I can't do that, but we will see if more can be done for your comfort."

I do believe she lost her will to live after my dad died, but it took five months for the physical effects to take over. She did get so she couldn't eat at all and then it was mostly about pain management and physical and psychological comfort. Dying is often a drawn out process. My heart goes out to you, as you are the one who must witness this process.

If the doctors think anything can be done to help her, listen to them and weigh the options. Will a procedure cause her more pain and misery, but prolong her life three days? These are choices we must make. What would she have wanted if she could make these decisions. You are savvy and concerned.

Please keep us posted. This is a hard way to spend this holiday season. I know. I experienced three Christmas season deaths. But it's not easy any time. Knowing my loved ones were finally out of pain was my comfort.

Take care,
Carol
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

My mother (I've posted about her in other discussions so I'm not going to go into detail here) would not appear at first pass to be a hospice candidate. But I asked for an evaluation anyway. And she has been accepted into hospice. The care has been much better at the nursing home since then (Dec. 2). More visitors, including nurses and aids and social workers, see her and make sure she has what she needs. I am an only child and can't visit more than two or three times a week because of work and my own family's needs. Hospice has been wonderful in getting a new and better wheelchair and carries some of the cost burdens due to her diagnosed illness (vascular disease, which has caused extreme dementia and decline). It does not hurt to have hospice evaluate sooner rather than later. If they say, no not yet, that tells you something. If they say, yes, well, then you can decide whether to enroll. Either way is a benefit. I think many people misunderstand hospice care. I would not hesitate to advise calling them in for an evaluation. Thanks for posting the question. I like all the answers here.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Youngestof3, Hospice care (the care, not the room and board) is covered by Medicare. Most Hospice care takes place at home. My mother, who may soon go on Hospice, is in nursing home, private pay, at $15,000 a month. And yes, we will still have to pay that while she's on Hospice. It's for the 24/7 care she recieves.

I don't know if the Hospice organization that you mention is a for profit organization or not. You could call the main office of the organization and ask.

Hospice does not provide round the clock care and it sounds as though that's what your elder needs, that's what you are paying for. The alternative is to have family provide the care at home and have Hospice come in.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I do agree with Carol and Txmaggie on this, as I also went through this situation. I personally did find HOSPICE to be of a great support-not only to the person in need, but for all the family as well. I personally feel that when the patient's body is shutting down, this is something we have to respect..especially after exhausting all options. This is very difficult to say the least, but if we believe in the 'here after'-they are perhaps going to a better place. Getting back to Hospice, from my experience, I definately would not hesitate to use their services-they are very well trained, and can offer support during this 'dark time' of the caregiving journey.

Best,

Hapfra
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

i was thinkin about mom 20 yrs ago , she was dyin of cancer . i rembered they gave her morphine and she still would feel the pain , you could hear her cry and dr would increase her morphine and then she would be quite and comfertabel then u could hear her cry in pain . he would up it again and again till she was gone .
my mom was in a hellva pain that nobody could ever dream of . it was eating her alive . so by all means yes morphine killed her but she was nt hurting , and died in peace . bless her heart .....
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I agree that Hospice can do so much more. I am a Private Care Giver and work with Hospice quite often. They can help on so many levels and more one on one care than a being one of many residents of a facility.

I will keep you and you Mom in my thoughts and prayers!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I was told the other day my mom doesn't have a lot of time left, I have been her only care giver for the last 3 years, I saw some things going on that alerted me to some thing being wrong, my mom sleeps most of the day, she wakes up long enough to try and eat, most of her meds have been done away with, I do have hospice care for her, this is the second time around. my mom lives with me , Im the only person around that takes care of her, my brother came down finally after 4 months of not bothering with her, every time I invite him and his wife down he always has some excuse, my mom has diabetes, vascular dementia, and parkinsons, so her quality of life has gone. I know some people may think this is cruel, but I pray every night that god take my mom, its time, I hate seeing her go through it all, my mom will pass at home with me and the hospice people, so my heart goes out to every one who is going through this.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

well my mom is still with us, there has been some changes for her, she is now more confused then ever, some times she eats some times she just picks at her food, her O2 level is high then low, her bp is high then low, but she sleeps ,a lot and some times when she wakes up she says she is exhausted, but she has not needed any pain meds so Im grateful that she is remaining comfortable, we have out tree up and she likes that, so for now I just take it one day at a time.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you. Crazy thing, while in the hospital, my mom seemed as though she could pass away any moment. The ride to Hospice House seemed to juggle her enough that she is like she was 3 weeks ago! Monday morning, we made arrangements to move her to a nursing home where my dad can be in assisted living down the hall and can easily visit her as much as he wants. Tonight, however it seems like my dad is ready to go, he has been worried about mom for a couple years now, and we think because mom will soon pass his body is giving out too. He is 91 and has out lived all his relatives. Mom is 84 and hasn't been my mom for probably 5 years. This health "yo yo" is really taxing!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yes, the yoyo thing is what wears me down. We've been told by medical staff twice in the last year "this is it". You gird yourself, you go into emergency mode, you alert closest telatives. And then they perk up. Makes wr feel like I'm crying wolf. It's exhausting. Take cate of yourself!

To that end, I'm playing hookey today and sitting on a NYC beach, early in the morning.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions