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How long? I am so heartsick but I know that my Mom is tired and her body is shutting down. My solace is knowing her faith is sure, and that she will soon be with the LORD. I'd appreciate your prayers for her, and my family. No matter how one prepares for the death of a loved one, it still hurts.

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My Dad could no longer eat due to aspiration. He could no longer swallow and if he tried everything went down the wrong way. The nurses could no longer even give him is meds, ground up in pudding, because he was unable to swallow and they were afraid he'd aspirate. But at the same time, he suddenly refused to eat. The last day that he ate anything was 10 days before his death. He consented to eat about 10 bites at lunch, then turned his head and refused to eat anymore. We could tell he wasn't able to swallow anymore. The next day he was able to drink a few sips of thickened water. That was it. The hospice folks didn't decide to stop feeding him. He decided on his own. That being said, hospice staff will not force a person to eat or drink. As Eyerishlass said, I don't believe my Dad was hungry anymore, and attempting to feed him was a losing cause. I have read that refusing food and water is the beginning of the dying process, and from personal experience I can attest to that. You and your Mother are in my prayers.
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I've worked hospice cases and my dad went through hospice as well. Usually the decision to stop food comes from the risk of choking because the person is dying and begins to have difficulty swallowing. Hospice patients don't feel hungry and their condition is such that their body doesn't need the food anymore. I've also seen family members object to this, feeling like their loved one is starving to death when that is not the case. While dying, a person's body is going through so many changes that we don't see and the need to eat is simply not there anymore. Prior to this a person may want the taste of food but have no real desire to eat it. Eventually food will be withdrawn for fear of aspiration.

It does hurt, as you said. Seeing our loved one in a state that's not quite consciousness and not quite coma. That twilight sleep that precedes death. We're the ones who are hurting. If hospice is doing their job our loved one feels no pain, no anxiety and is free to move on to whatever comes next.
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IF they are still getting fluids & if some of them are like Boost or Ensure, then they can often go for several weeks. If they can still drink either on their own or by sucking from a straw, they may be getting enough water & nutrition to go quite a while. Their body will draw on their fat reserves to keep their body going - often amazingly for a long period. If they were somewhat plump before hospice and have no significant other chronic diseases, they have quite a bit of reserves to keep going. Also keep in mind that if they are on hospice and if they are bedfast, then they really don't expend much energy to live so a 3X a day Boost and juice may be enough for their limited needs.

I would ask about their fluid intake and also how often they need to be diaper changed. That is a pretty good gauge on if their body is continuing to "process".

ANother ? is why they are stopping feeding….like is it being done because they are having food aspiration issues; or they are having some sort of chewing, bowel or digestive issues in that they can't process & eliminate real food properly. My mom is in a NH and on hospice since June, so it;s now 9 months and at the beginning she could not chew but still could swallow so no real foods for her just liquids. Then within the next month she was & still is now able to bite, chew, swallow and if it's smallish food like a sandwich or sliced pears/peach, she can feetdherself. Otherwise the aide does "assisted feeding". Hospice monitors the % of what they eat, so ask how that was going before they stopped giving food. It may be she was not eating or able to chew so any feeding was in vain. My mom does about 50% of her meals which is noted in her chart each day and a Boost or two a day. When I come in to see her & ask her what I can bring her, she wants a ham sandwich with pimento cheese spread & forget the mayo! You know none of this is easy or simple. Take care.
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Prayers for your mother, and for strength for you. Bless you for doing your best to accept your mother's need to leave. Big hug.
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I found comfort in knowing Hospice was there with my loved one.. The hospice folks are educated in what signs to look for to help determine the length of time.

My heart and prayers are with you and Mom at this difficult time. Hugs to both of you!!!!
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