How long will it take for my mom to die if she is only eating a few bites a day and little water?

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My mom was diagnosed with dementia 2 years ago. Once on meds she has been pretty good. I went away for a week and my siblings each took her for 2 days. She came back a little disoriented and having trouble swallowing. Stopped eating and ended up in hospital. Electrolytes were way off and diagnosed her with congestive heart failure. Then went to rehab. Didn't eat much and needed assistance for everything. Then went to assisted living. She kept saying she wants to die. Refused therapy, hardly ate and sat all day with eyes closed. Now she has declined so much they move her like a rag doll. No strength to even sit on edge of bed. Eats 1 egg for breakfast and only 5% of her lunch and dinner. She seems so spacey now and hardly talks. I can't believe that she could take care of herself 2 months ago and now she is an invalid. Hospice is taking over today. Any ideas how long she has?

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I agree with "mlface"! My Mom didn't have alzheimers but she was having seizures and had congestive heart failure. She was in the hospital and I think she'd just gotten tired and wanted to leave this world. I have long thought that sometimes we need to give our loved ones permission to leave us. (I know that some will not agree, but it does provide closure for our loved ones and us, as well.) I gave my Mom permission to leave and join other family members who have gone on. She closed her eyes and never opened them again. She died within the week. She was much loved by our family and many others. I didn't want her to suffer just because she thought she couldn't go and leave me. Mom was a strong, faithful woman! She knew where she was going and who was waiting for her there!
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When you talk w here give her permission to step into heaven. I told my mom in her last breaths she was going home. As she believed heaven was her home.
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As said before each individual is different. For my mother, (Alzheimer's) she became a lite eater and also became bedbound within days of coming home from rehab. I brought her home for hospice, believing that her body was giving up the fight. She went through a few days of sleeping almost all the time. Then she started staying awake and thus, was awake to eat at regular intervals. The quantity was still modest. As mentioned previously at this point minimal energy is being burned.

Her appetite continued to decrease, with no difficulty in swallowing. The last week I was expressing my concern to the nurse about her not eating or drinking. She said that is one of the most difficult areas caregivers struggle with as the end nears. I knew I was bringing her home to die, but the process is difficult to navigate. Momma was taking in so little, I knew it was not enough to sustain her. I asked the nurse if I was dragging the dying process out by encouraging food and drink consumption. She said I was being a loving daughter, but yes. She knew I wanted what was best and easiest for my mother. She said stop offering food and drink, but if she asks for it give it to her. Momma never ate or drank anything again and passed in five days.

Your mother said she wanted to die. And you believe she has given up. Perhaps listening to what she has said and helping her through the process of dying is what you need to do at this time. Between you and your hospice team you need to decide how to proceed. This is not easy, but you will be alright.
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I want to say something about AL vs longterm nursing now my daughter is working in an AL after working in rehab/nursing homes or 20 years. ALs are not equipped for total care of a person. Assisted Living is just that, they assist. They don't have the staff that a NH has because residents should be able to do most things for themselves. When my Mom went into an AL, she could not dress or bath herself. Had to be promped to brush her teeth to the point of havng the aide put toothpaste on the brush and then handing it to Mom. She walked with a walker. She declined each month (not ALs fault) and now is in a NH. Knowing what my daughter knows now, she feels, and me too, that Mom should have been in the home from the start. I feel she gets better care.
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Alzheimer's, dementia & most memory impairments are so unpredictable. Yes, there are stages of the disease & we are told symptoms for each of those stages but that doesn't mean our loved one will have each & every one of them at that stage. The progression of the disease is not the same for everyone either, there's no rhyme or reason to it all.

It does seem though that our loved ones don't fare well with change; consistency, routine & structure works. They do so much better with the same old/same old of everything.

I am sorry about your mom and what you are both going thru. Illness & disease affects everyone, mentally & physically at times. Please do not put blame on yourself.

It sounds like you are providing the best medical care, yet, I would question any medication changes also, they can create havoc, so many side effects. You may want to consider withdrawing meds, especially ones not really needed. Some memory care facilities strive to lessen or eliminate meds all together. It's all about their comfort, the new normal.

Stay strong & focused. Be in your mom's corner, caring & loving. Blessings 🌸
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My Mom survived 16 days without food or water. She was unable to swallow anymore after a stroke. Dying is an individual thing. No one can predict. My heart goes out to you. Hospice can guide you and make her final moments peaceful.
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I'm so sorry about your Mom. This is a difficult time and my heart goes out to you. 

As mentioned above, everyone is different and hospice can best advise you. But in case it helps, here is a rough timeline of what I experienced with my Dad :

4-6 weeks prior to passing, Dad started having trouble swallowing. Eating, but was changed to a mostly soft/liquid diet and intake slowly lessened.

2 weeks prior, he was consuming about the equivalent of 1-2 Ensure, and sometimes not every day. At this point he became extremely weak and very hard for me to maneuver alone, and then became bed-bound.

2 days before he passed, Dad suddenly had a good day. I was hopeful. Apparently a last good day close to the end is common, and should be treasured if it occurs.

The next day, he became non-responsive. There was no food or water intake, and the next afternoon he passed.

Like you, I during this time I worried about his intake and didn't want him to suffer. Hospice mentioned people who aren't moving around a lot also don't burn a lot of calories. It can also be more harmful than helpful to eat at this time, so don't force it.

I'll pass along a suggestion from my Dad's oldest friend: Offer your Mom something she really, really loves. Don't force it, but it might give her a bit of pleasure.
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I know it is very hard to go this with your mom. My mother Alizheimer's stage is more around 5 maybe going into 6 and is currently in a memory care center; she has gone through the same thing your mother is going through. My mom would just sleep all day and too weak to even sit up in a wheel chair. My brother and I plus the staff thought she would pass within a few weeks if not before. My brother and I decided to take her off all of her medications including the Alzheimer's medications, since it didn't seem that any of them were helping her at this point and in doing so she started to improve. She started eating, getting stronger and can now sit in the wheel chair. In speaking to the staff and manager of the facility they said they have seen this many times. They said currently there is one patient who has gone through this 3 times. She would be what it seem near death and then improve. I wouldn't have believe that until I seen it with my own eyes for my mother. The staff said the medications have some bad side effects and can effect the appetite. You might want to rethink her medications especially medication for Alzheimer's whether they are really doing her any good.
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It sounds to me like she'll probably die within a week. If she's not eating and especially if she's not drinking very much water, she's nearing the end because you can't survive long without water. I wonder if the real reason why she reduced her intake is because her organs are shutting down and she can't process the food and water anymore? This is something to consider because they say as you near the end your consumption reduces though not true in every case, some people just fall asleep and never wake. It sounds like she may have actually reached the dying process before anyone knew what was going on, this is just a possibility. 

Another possibility is she probably wished herself to die and therefore started taking steps in that direction. Does anyone have guardianship? I would definitely look into this and have her evaluated in every possible way and see if she may actually have depression. People with depression often have a death wish and it sounds like she probably has depression. I have a friend with depression and he has told me of at least one time he tried to commit suicide. Depressed people have different ways of getting the job done if they want it done bad enough, especially if they have underlying mental issues causing the depression. Truthfully there are some days he'll go to long without eating and have a diabetic crisis like a sugar drop. Yes, my friend is diabetic and due to depression, sometimes he just don't eat much in a day and he'll go into a sugar drop. After not eating much for long enough, he'll suddenly splurge and eat a lot to make up for time he didn't eat. In fact I was very surprised when I bought a very expensive cheese tray with groceries that I contributed since we spend a lot of time at his place and much to my surprise within a short time 2/3 of that very expensive and sizable cheese tray was gone, and I didn't get much of it, maybe a third. Now I know what not to share when I have something expensive such as a sizable cheese tray that's very expensive when you're on SSI. Yes, sometimes people experiencing depression will have irregular diet habits. When they start getting hungry, they'll raid the fridge and even eat something as expensive as a sizable cheese tray that supposed to be split 50-50. Sometimes foods of convenience like snack foods enable people to just eat them instead of a regular meal, it's just too tempting between the choice of cooking and just grabbing the snack tray. No more cheese trays out of my pocket for over there, I just can't afford it every time I turn around as SSI only pays once a month and you must make that money last all month, and having someone hog a very expensive cheese tray that I just bought is something I can't afford. Call it tough love if you will, sometimes you just have to pull the purse strings and make them do what's good for them, especially if they have an on healthy diet and depression on top of that
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So sorry about your Mom! My husband deteriorated quickly, too.. I have an alcoholic husband who is slowly letting himself die. He has had maybe 4 ounces of food in a month and a half. He has alcoholic gastritis and IBS, so it's very painful when he eats. He exists on vodka, water and ginger ale. I keep wondering how he can continue to live this way.. I know what you are going through.. ((hugs))
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