My grandmother is 88, diagnosed with dementia last year. She had been suffering from severe osteoporosis and pain for several years. Her condition has been steadily worsening this past year. She lost the ability to walk. Then she was repeatedly hospitalized for UTIs and hospital infections and finally was transferred to a hospice care unit. By then she was down to a little under 100 lbs. Two weeks ago she stopped eating. Her living will prohibits all "invasive" treatments and therefore she is now on a subcutaneous IV drip and pain meds only. She has progressively lost consciousness and reflexes, and just lies still in peaceful sleep. Last weekend the medical staff told us she only had a few days left... but her heart just keeps beating. We take turns by her side and the grief is taking a heavy toll on all of us. How long can her body last like this? We know she no longer feel pain but... it's like she and us are trapped at a crossroads, unable to move on.

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Sometimes they wait for permission to go. Hold her hand and tell her there is a big party waiting for her. Promise to take care of the family.
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Lark, sounds a lot like my late Mom... she also was on Hospice, she refused food and water which is an indicator that she is ready to transition. My Mom also had a very strong heart but eventually Hospice told me it would be within 48 hours that she would pass, and they were right. I was there, I found her favorite movie on TV, wee hours of the morning, so I watched it. Then Mom passed 5 minutes after the movie ended. Coincidental? Maybe yes, maybe no. I want to think she somehow was "watching" that movie and waited until it ended.

Now on the other side of the coin, some elders rather pass when there are no relatives in the room. When my Dad was on Hospice, I said to him while he was in a deep sleep "Dad, it is ok for you to go see Mom, I will be ok... you taught me how to take care of myself and to be able to identify every tool in the toolbox and how to use it" [Dad and I always had a sense of humor]. Sure enough 5 hour later, in the wee hours of the morning he had passed, he wasn't alone, his favorite caregiver volunteered to stay the night. But Dad wanted to spare me his last breath.
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There is no way of knowing the exact time. It isn't easy for the spirit to separate from the body. We spend a lifetime trying to keep body and soul together, so they are like one. Your grandmother will have to make the decision about when to separate. I know you can't know what is going on on the inside of her. It sounds like she is at peace. The only thing you can do is keep her comfortable as she prepares to cross over.
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