My mom has declined rapidly. She is eating very little and while she has been drinking liquids, today she refused what I tried to give her. She may rebound, but my guess is she is failing. She does not seem to be aware that she may be dying. She laughs and talks about the ALF activities and getting back to the “ball” exercise. When I mentioned that she will not do well if she does not eat, she looks completely puzzled. She may not feel hunger at all.

Here is my question. Do you think dementia patients are intellectually aware when they are dying? Or does the body just slowly shut down? She seems so content and happy. Perhaps that is God’s blessing if that is the case.

Perhaps she will rally and wake up tomorrow hungry and thirsty. We will see. Anything can happen with this disease, I suppose.

Thank you, my friends.

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I believe that humans are spiritual beings having a human experience.....not the other way around. That we always have one foot here and one foot "over there" as it is....but when death, or rebirth, is imminent, we have a stronger presence on The Other Side than we do here on earth. Ergo why your mom was so peaceful, calm and happy right before she departed this life for the next. She was preparing for her rebirth and eagerly awaiting her arrival in spirit form once she passed.

Others can scoff, that's fine, but I've read and seen too much to believe otherwise.

Your beloved mom was not scared transitioning, and is blessedly fine now with God and her family members who've already departed, on the Other Side, enjoying life with no pain, dementia or limitations of any kind.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."
-Pierre Tielhard de Chardin
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KNance72 Nov 2022
Total agreement
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My husband who had vascular dementia, and was completely bedridden was under hospice care the last 22 months of his life. When his 6 week dying process started in early August 2020,(and I was told by hospice that he would be dead in 3 days)my husband had no clue that he was in fact dying. He stopped eating then and only drank little sips here and there.
As I'm sure hospice has explained to you by now that when the body starts the dying process, the digestive system is the first to shut down and forcing food or drink can be very painful for the one dying.
About 4 weeks into my husbands dying process, he woke up around 10:30 p.m. and called my name. It was at that time that he told me that he was dying, and it was shortly thereafter that he went unconscious, and remained that way until he died on Sept. 14th 2020, after not eating for 41 days and not drinking for over 25 days.
I hope and pray that if it your moms time to leave this world for the next, that it will be a much quicker process than my husband had, as that was quite horrific to witness.
And just make sure that you leave nothing left unsaid between you and your mom. God bless you.
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Msblcb Nov 2022
I am so sorry that you had to go through that pain. It is strange, but sitting at her bed, watching her, helping her when necessary and seeing her open her eyes and smile has been a time that I will cherish. It sounds like it would be stressful but it is peaceful. I have spent the last few days second guessing, wishing I had done this or that..etc. I am sure that second guessing will probably return but for now this time is very precious.
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The week before mother died, I made a quick visit. She was not 'herself' and struggled to find words and names.

She said she felt 'foggy' and asked me what was wrong with her.

I said "Mom, you're 92.You are winding down a long life and I am sorry you are actually feeling the decline. What's wrong with you is that you are dying. Are you OK with that? Because we kids are fine and we're going to be fine. Just let life happen and don't worry. And if Daddy comes to get you--GO with him."

Maybe I gave her the 'permission' to die. She did pass a few days after my last visit.

Believing, as I do, in a wonderful, pain free afterlife, I was not distraught over her death. I know where she is and I am fine with that. Still grieving, since this is only a few months ago--but happy she is done with this life, which, honestly? it's not so fun for someone old, sick and unable to make their bodies do what they want to do.
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I have a friend who is dying now at home with hospice who is NOT a dementia patient. She is completely competent. However, when the body is diminished and add on a few mild medications you see that people are kind of in and out of the awareness. We are all, to be frank, unlikely to be able to grasp the reality of "death" and its approach. You will often find the dying, both those with and without any mental impairment, talking about the fact that they understand they are dying one moment and making statements that indicate they believe they will be here years hence the next. And example from my friend: "I need to do my ballot this weekend and get it in because this is my last election and an important one". Minutes later talking about "Well if so and so wins then next election I am going to blah blah blah....." . So just saying, it is kind of dependent on the moment.
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Msblcb: Although my mother did not suffer from dementia, she suffered a life ending ischemic stroke. Although she was unresponsive with her eyes closed, she did give me a silent goodbye when a solitary tear ran down her cheek.
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Is there someone you can reach out to like a nurse at the ALF or Hospice? It might help you to understand your dear mum's situation. My father with severe dementia passed recently after a bad fall. I was very worried that the pain medications they were giving him were making him lose his appetite and thirst. However, even when I offered him water he didn't seem interested. After he passed, I contacted hospice and they called me back when they had time, since it wasn't urgent and let me share my concerns. We had a long talk and I am at peace with what occurred. You might reach out now or talk to a nurse or doctor to see if your mom might qualify for Hospice. It is covered by Medicare if they qualify and I wish I had reached out much earlier so they could have been coaching me through his passing. I cannot say how much comfort and peace they brought to me. There is also often a "Palliative Care" service available as well if she isn't that close to the end.
Peace and comfort to you.
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Msblcb Nov 2022
I did do that and you are absolutely right. I should have called much earlier. Despite it being only a couple of days, I am already feeling so much more at rest with this terrible situation. Thank you so much!
Watching my dad around the clock during his last days I saw his awareness of dying come for sure. But as the time came closer he seemed to withdraw to himself more. I saw that he was very much on a solo journey, but one that was peaceful. I just held his hand. I wish you both peace in this, your mother is blessed to have you
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I am not sure anyone could answer that question for you. Everyone deals with/perceives their own demise differently.
I was with my mom until the very end. She was told by the doctors with all 5 of her children present that there was nothing more the could do (her kidneys failed).
I think it’s important that your mom accepts her demise and that you do too. Let her go being happy, you are the one that will ache when she’s gone, prepare yourself and she will prepare herself. It’s going to be a lot harder on you than you think.
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Endure Nov 2022
just wanted to say that was a beautiful response💕
My husband passed away in June, but his last 3 months was a roller coaster. One day, he was fully aware and told me he wasn’t afraid of dying because he knew he would be with Jesus. Then, he would be completely out of it and they kept trying to get me to sign a DNR, which I didn’t want to do. Then, a couple of days later, he would be perfectly fine! It’s so difficult to watch! It is a horrible disease, but just enjoy the good days. Our last 3 months were something that were precious to me that I can hold on to, even though there were hard days.
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ConnieCaretaker Nov 2022
My husband and I both wear DNR bracelets and have signed our directives........we don't want to put those decisions on anyone else.
My mom reduced eating for about a year. She had moderate dementia. Towards the end, she asked me out of the blue "will I ever get better/" My answer was similar to you. Shortly afterwards she started falling due to weakness and about 2 weeks later she passed after going on hospice. So yes, I believe there is an awareness.
Now I have gone through hospice about 4 times with family. Each had an awareness that things were not improving. One was in denial with hope he would get better, but he also saw the downward slope. Even when each was near the end and mostly not responsive, we are told to keep talking because hearing is the last to go. They may be aware but too weak at the end to respond.
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