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My father in law is the person I speak of. He has been going down hill for a while, but we were notified yesterday that he can't swallow food or water, and if they try to feed him (which they have had to do) he chokes and aspirates. We live about 3 hrs away from him and go see him every other weekend.

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Refusing food and drink my mother passed in 3 or 4 days. She was in no pain, just basically faded away.
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jinglebts I am reading that book right now. It is fascinating reading isn't it?

My Mom passed away in May of this year and I have been seeking out this type of information.
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Receiving nutrition is a huge factor to sustaining life. If you cannot swallow, the end IS near.
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I found Patricia Pearson's book "Opening Heaven's Door" very interesting on that topic (" I wonder what they see as they are passing over and if it is their loved ones that have passed before?"). Tales of near-death experiences, knowing when a loved one far away has died, and interviews with palliative care nurses who say that many ppl ask "to go home", "is my passport current?", "when am I leaving?" ... fascinating, and helpful, stuff.
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Some people prefer to die while alone in the room and actually send their loved ones out. My friends Mom told her to go ahead and take a shower and her Mom then passed away. My Aunt sent my cousins out for coffee, absolutely insisted they go, and passed away during her nap. I guess everyone is different. I wonder what they see as they are passing over and if it is their loved ones that have passed before? When my Dad passed on he had the most peaceful look on his face and that he finally knew the secret to it all. I will never forget that and wonder what he saw.
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Katie, my Mom [97] has been doing the same thing, only eating a few bites of food for the past month, one or two tablespoons of this or that.... and less and less liquids. I am also amazed how my Mom keeps on ticking as she is so tiny and frail.
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Joannes brings up a good point. I wish we had stayed with our mom through her ordeal but when we went to bed, she died alone.
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My mum died on Aug 28th, 2001. She lasted abt four or five days w/o eating and drinking. She was in the palliative care wing of the Victoria Hospital in BC. We gave her swabs for dryness in her mouth. She died while she was being bathed. Only I was there at the time. So sad. But I wouldn't have wanted her to live in her condition -- multiple myeloma, very painful.
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Yes, everyone is different. No food, for a few weeks. NO fluids... 3 to 5 days. When Hospice comes in 'round the clock', then you have 3 days. Or that is how it was here in Florida for my husband. Will be one year ago, in November.
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It seems like my Mom has only been eating a few bites of food for several months now...but the amount is less and less, and now she is not drinking her ensures or cranberry juice very much. i am amazed at how little she has lived on this long. ..She can still swallow. My friend who just lost her Mom said the swallowing difficulty is what changed 3 days before her Mom went.
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If he doesn't have a DNR in place they could place a feeding tube and that would change everything.
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Just went through this in August with my Dad. He was in hospice for a week. We were told it would take no more than a couple weeks, however, it helps to be able to track blood pressure, heart rate and urine output. There is a very great booklet for the lay public...that helps one to understand, which hospice gives out. Of course, whether it is 3 days or 3 weeks, depends on the reserves in the person's body at the time. It is a difficult time to go through. We continued to talk to my dad, played his favorite music. His grandchildren and great grandchildren phoned and told him goodbye over the phone. He really was not alert and talking back, but we had many signs that he was able to see us and hear us. We did not leave him alone in the end, but stayed with him....at least one of us, day and night.
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Studies have shown that, in general, people live about a week without water. Realistically, it's closer to 3-5 days. An experienced hospice nurse can give you a very good estimate. They can probably let you know within a few hours so you would have time to make the drive. I would keep in touch with them. Wishing you lots of peace and serenity during this difficult time.
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My father lasted eight days after not eating or drinking. He had cancer. We kept his lips swabbed and continued talking to him even though he was sleeping.
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At most a week, usually about three days. Get going. I am so sorry for your loss. No matter how long our relatives "go downhill" the grieving at their deaths is raw and real and so hard. Courage and peace, Phyllis
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It all depends if he has a DNR in place (Do Not Resuscitate). An NG tube can be inserted, but with a terminal illness it is pointless - if the DNR is in place. He can live perhaps seven days, but each person is unique and only God has the time table of death. I'm sorry for your loss.
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Hospuce organizations usually have a booklet that explains what to expect. You can usually download it yourself. I believe that it is anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks. My mom lasted 2 weeks from when she stopped eating. My mother in law lasted about 5 days. Think this could also vary depending upon how the person was eating prior to accepting no food. You can probably get your best guesstimate from talking to the hospice staff. Good luck and God Bless
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My father died of Alzheimer's Disease on September 12, 2012. My mother, my husband, and I took care of him for years before his condition became so bad that we had to place him in a skilled nursing facility. He was in the SNF for almost eleven months before he died.

I was with him almost every single day. I helped him with almost every meal. I could tell he was going downhill when he started having eating problems. He would take the food I gave him into his mouth, but he wouldn't chew. Liquids just dribbled out of his mouth and down his chin. It was the beginning of the end. He became totally unresponsive.

Dad lasted six days after he stopped eating and drinking. I was there day and night those six days. I kept his mouth and lips moisturized with the swabs the nurses gave me. (Dad already had directives in place that stated he wanted NO measures taken to keep him alive if he became unresponsive.) He died at seven o'clock that September morning.

Of course, it is different for everyone. My brother's mother-in-law died in January of this year. She, too, got to the point of refusing to eat or drink. She held on for almost three weeks before she died.

Staciecr, I would talk to the hospice workers. They can give you guidelines, but remember that it is different for everyone. I wish you peace at this time.
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He must be on hospice now then? Ask hospice workers their thoughts. They deal with these questions frequently. Though they do not have a crystal ball. It is very different for different people. You could even google time to death without nourishment. That would provide as good an estimate as any. You may be going down on consecutive weekends for awhile.
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