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My mom has been in the hospital 2 of the past three weeks. Bladder infections and dehydration were the last diagnosis. In the hospital on both occasions mom was given fluids intravenously. After the first hospital stay mom had a catherter added, and I was told she would need skilled nursing care. So, we opted for a nursing home in town. This was a hard decision, however. After a week mom was back in the hospital. Today is the second day out of the hospital. Mom is refusing to drink or eat enough to maintain bladder functions. I feel that after a week she will be dehydrated again. I am trying ensure and ice cream with very minimal intake. Has anyone experienced similar issues or have any advice.

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When my Dad, depressed in the hospital and sundowning, refused to eat, we had a deeply spiritual friend come in to talk to him. My Dad trusted this friend, who tole him it was his choice. He could stay or he could go, but he needed to be aware that he was making a choice. My Dad decided to live and fight a little longer. He cam home and we had the best two months with him before he left this earth.
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Jack this behavior is very common at the end of life and force feeding with tubes or IVs can cause severe distress if the body is trying to shut down. Have you considered consulting hospice?
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Does your mom have a living will? Whatever you plan to do it should be in accord with her wishes. When my mom was near the end (88), she would seal her lips shut after only a bite or a sip or two. She could no longer speak, but she clearly made sure we knew her wishes.
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That's what happened with both of my parents. The Hospice nurses told me it was their bodies' way of shutting down and not to force them to eat or drink. I know it is difficult to not do anything; but, other than calling Hospice, you have done all you can do. Most important of all, you have obviously loved your mom a lot and she knows that. May you have acceptance and peace throughout this time. Everyone here is thinking of you and has you in their hearts and prayers.
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Same cycle with my mom........food isn't very interesting but ice cream and chocolate shakes are.......you have to make them feel ok about whatever they choose......it's ok. It's clear when they are ready and you will be ok if you leave it up to your loved one.
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Veronica91's comment is very correct. I am a direct care hospice volunteer. In my training we learned that dehydration and starvation is the most natural and painless ways to die and that to force food and hydration on someone who doesn't want it can be very painful. Bring in a good non-profit hospice who can help both of you work through these issues.
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Hi Jack - I very recently lost my mother on May 23. Your story is almost an exact replica of my own, minus the nursing home. After her hospital stay due to a bladder infection/dehydration, we brought her home & placed her on hospice. She lasted 10 days. During those 10 days, my husband & I tried like h3ll to get her eating & drinking again. Pureed foods, Ensure, little sips of water every time we entered her room. She would try to appease us, but her intake was so minimal, her fate became very clear. I'm so sorry you are going through this. This was our second experience with hospice, and I can say without a doubt that watching your loved one refuse food/water while standing by feeling helpless, is the most heartbreaking experience. I hope your mother's condition improves, but if it doesn't, definitely contact a hospice organization & ask for an assessment. In my opinion, they are a Godsend.
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What quality of life are you trying extend? What else are the diagnosis on your Mother? I know it is HARD because it is your Mother? Ask Hospice to come in and they will be able to look at all the records and help you. Remember to keep talking to her and around her with those that come in. If you offer her water, ensure (her favorite flavor), ice cream and she does not want it is her decision.
Share earlier life times and things that made HER the happiest with her.
God is always awake and you can talk to him too.
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I do not believe that a dying person should have food a water withheld if they want it. When they are close to death and refuse sustenance that is another matter and their wishes should be followed. I do not see it as starving to death it is just the natural course of the body shutting down.. Dehydration does not seem to be painful although having a very dry mouth is uncomfortable but this is easy to avoid with proper mouth care.
Gershun euthanasia is the deliberate administration of medications that will ensure death in a very short time. Like having an animal put to sleep. The side effects from some drugs used to ensure comfort at the end of life may appear to shorten life but that is not the intention. You have to ask yourself if you would rather see your loved one quiet and peaceful or screaming in pain and fear throwing themselves all over the bed.
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Near the end, my mother did loose interest in eating and drinking, but she did not die from starvation. She had one final stroke and died. Unless an older person is depressed, I think the choice not to eat or drink is a sign that the end is at hand. Sounds like it is time to bring in Hospice.
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