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My mom is almost 96. I have moved in to care for her since my dad died last year.
In last three months, she has changed. She tells me she wants to go home, sleeps more than she usually did, and has a few hallucinations of dead relatives ( parents, brother, my father). Her appetite has declined in the last three months. She doesn’t want to eat a lot and has stopped liking her favorite foods. It is a chore to get her to eat daily, but I get her to do it. She can swallow fine.
She suffers from dementia and heart problems. There are no physical symptoms worsening. She is under a doctor’s care and is only on heart/ high blood pressure meds. She does not have a UTI and is not dehydrated.
Is she just preparing to die?
I’m afraid it’s the dementia getting worse which to me is a more horrible prospect. I do not want her to suffer or put her on antipsychotic meds.
Has anyone seen these symptoms before a loved one died?

I am sure at her age she is at least thinking about death. Has she always been a person with a small appetite? Some of us don’t eat a lot. I don’t. My mom wasn’t a big eater. My grandma wasn’t either.

Have you spoken to her doctor about her appetite? What does he say? I don’t know if I would force eating if she really doesn’t want to. My dad stopped eating before his death. He wasn’t hungry. My brother didn’t eat a lot before dying either.

Do you keep ensure on hand? My dad and brother drank those occasionally.

I am sorry that I can’t help you more. No one can tell you exactly when your mom will die. Is she on hospice? Do you want to look into that? If you do, I would contact a social worker to help you plan for this. Start by speaking to her primary doctor first.

I sincerely hope that your mom will have a peaceful death.

Is your mom in any emotional or physical discomfort? My dad refused psych drugs for any anxiety or slight depression.

Not everyone needs meds. That is between the patient and their doctor. If the patient isn’t capable then their POA can make the appropriate decision. Sometimes meds are needed.

You can ask her care team for their recommendations on the topic to help you decide. May you be at peace during this difficult and transitioning time.
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There is no need for an anti psychotic unless she is distressed by her "visitors" or she is agitated in any other way. I did see a subtle change in my mom her last few months but if she hadn't gotten pneumonia there really was no real reason she mightn't have gone on indefinitely - realistically anyone in their 90's is living on borrowed time and we must just take it one day at a time.
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