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My mother is 92 years old. It seems all of a sudden she started to decline. She eats very little and drinks very little. She says she is tired all the time. After a couple of bits or a few sips of something she says she is full and doesn't want anymore. She is bed bound.


We mainly get her to drink hot cocoa. Once in a while she will sip a couple of spoonful's of broth and maybe a bite or two of melted ice cream. She drinks very little water.


I've read posts from others talking about this situation, but have not seen many answers from those of you who have experienced this. I'd like to know how long it took for your loved one to pass after they stopped eating. One hospice nurse told me some elderly folks can go on forever like this. Doesn't seem like they would be able to.

My mother lasted about two or three days, but she was taking nothing but enough water to wet her mouth.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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She is doing nothing to expend energy, so she could very well be getting enough.

She is obviously headed down hill, I am sorry you are loosing your mom. May she go peacefully and may God grant you grieving mercies and strength through this time.

Hugs!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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My mother was 99 and a resident in Memory Care when she stopped eating or drinking. She died peacefully eight days later in a Hospice House.
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Reply to Linzy6
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Im estimating it was about three months that my mother “ate” similarly to what you describe. Mainly, she sipped liquids but had lost the ability to actually eat - for the most part.

Mom spent the vast majority of her time sleeping and as such - expending very little energy - her hospice doctor said she could exist like that for months. Which she did.

Its very difficult to see this kind of slow, slow wasting away - them disappearing before your eyes. But, at least in my moms case - she didn’t seem to be in any pain and really - not even uncomfortable. Still, it was quite a disturbing shock to see “malnutrition” listed first as “cause of death” on her death certificate.

Best wishes to you during this difficult time.
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Caregiverhelp11 Jan 26, 2019
Yes, it's very difficult. She's going on about 4 weeks now. She is so frail
and very tired. Tired of being there in bed unable to do anything. I feel so
bad for her. I wish there was something more I could do for her.
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I'm sorry for what you're going through. This is a sad time and a hard thing to watch.

I hope this will be a more comforting way to look at it. The body starts to wind down and stops wanting food. It's that way round, rather than that your mother isn't getting enough nourishment to keep her going.

I appreciate that having no idea of how long this phase will go on is a whole little extra torment on its own. I wish there were any way to know, but there just isn't. You can, if it helps to scratch the itch, find out her Base Metabolic Requirement which will tell you how many calories she burns each day ticking over, but I'm not sure it's the right thing to focus on.

Her enjoying her cocoa and ice cream and broth is much more important. If she is comfortable and wants for nothing, you are getting this right.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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My mom went into a hospice care facility and got agitated to leave (she had dementia). I told them to give her only meds for pain and sedation. They had to heavily sedate her after two days - she slept for 5 days under sedation with no meals and died 7 days after being admitted. She was 94 and would not want to continue to live in her condition, so she was at peace. The nurse had told me to check the bottom of her feet each day for “mottled appearance” - it’s one of the first signs that a patient is dying - she had mottled feet the night before she died. I wish you and your family a hasty and peaceful retreat from the agony you have been suffering. Take care.
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Reply to Dolciani
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Caregiverhelp11 Jan 26, 2019
Thanks for your reply. What do mottled feet look like?
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Once my mother stopped eating entirely and was only kept minimally hydrated, she lived two weeks, in a deep sleep for the most part. Blessings to you as you go through this
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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JoAnn29 Jan 26, 2019
Same with my Mom only she closed her eyes but seemed to know what was going on around her.
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Mottled skin has the appearance of blotchiness. Typically, in the case of the dying it is bluish in color - maybe even and purple or dark red. It can also appear on the hands, forearm and calves.

If you want to know the basic signs of “transitioning” - that’s what the hospice folk call the beginnings of the body shutting down when death is near - or nearish- try googling “signs of death” and talk to your hospice nurse. There are changes in breathing, oxygen levels and eye appearance as well as the blotching.

Not all the signs appear in everyone.

Still - for me at least, I found it comforting and reassuring to know what to expect as my mother began her journey.
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cwillie Jan 26, 2019
When we got the call to come to the NH because they were seeing signs of mottling I was confused after I arrived - I expected mottling to be as you described, but with my mom it was nothing like that at all, there was no blue or purple or red, just a strange sort of blotchy pallor.
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Oh, how I feel for you. My Dad was in Hospice. He knew what was going to happen. Tried to give me warning so I could prepare my Mom. Who knew at the time because I surely didn't.  Maybe just take it day to day. I get that's not much help. But some things we just don't understand. And we maybe aren't meant to? Just know, you are not alone in this journey. Sometimes there are no answers, and we just have to go with how it goes.
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