What are the mental symptoms of an elderly person dying? Emotions..etc. - AgingCare.com

What are the mental symptoms of an elderly person dying? Emotions..etc.

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Do they get depressed? Stop going places? Sleep more often?

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Every death is .Do not blame the doctors for giving what may appear as misinformation. they are rarely with the patient during the time leading up to death. they often give over optimistic estimates and there are many reasons for this. They don't want to be the bringers of bad news or feel that their treatment has failed and most of all simply don't know. Many patients will also not accept that they are dying and insist on continuing treatment and artificial nutrition. At times this is to achieve a special goal, like an upcoming birth, graduation or anniversary.
Patients will become weaker, sleep more, be reluctant to eat or drink and turn visitors away. Urinary output will become less or cease completely. Seeing what I describe as spiritual visitors is also very common. often people they recognize. but sometimes complete strangers. When you pinch up a fold of skin it is slow to return to a flat state. The color of the skin may become blue especially at the extremities and feel cold. it may become difficult to feel peripheral pulses or measure blood pressure or even hear a heart beat .if measurable the pulse may become rapid and blood pressure fall. terminal agitation can become a problem and medication should be available to calm this. Pain often becomes much more severe in the final hours and higher doses should be available to treat this. Eventually the patient may slip into unconsciousness and the breathing take on the pattern described as Cheyne Stokes where the breathing can cease for as long as a minute then resume with a big sigh. This can happen up to about two weeks prior to death. Another distressing symptom is what are called terminal secretions which do not always happen. the patient will produce copious amounts of secretions from the mouth and nose. Unless you have been regularily suctioning because of a trach do not attempt to suction, it will only make the throat sore and not improve the condition. Turn the patient on their side and allow the secretions to drain out. there may be a rattling sound often described as the death rattle although this is fairly rare. With certain cancers of the digestive system the breath may become putrid in the final days. this is nauseating for the caregivers and you can try putting something like vasiline in your nose or wearing a mask sprayed with a little perfume. It disappears on death and the room can be quickly aired out.
As you see signs of approaching death notify family members so they can say their goodbyes if they wish. Allow but don't force young children to see the dead person. during a terminal illness it is fine to allow even very young children to help in the care with tasks like bringing in drinks or the newspaper or just sitting and talking to the patient if they wish.. When you think the person is close to death in the last days they appear to rally and seem to be improving. This is rarely true so expect death within 48 hours but enjoy those hours and let them eat or drink anything. The moment of death is usually calm as a feeling of peace descends. one troubling thing is something called Agonal breathing. After the heart stops the patient may take a few breaths and you are nio sure they have really gone. I have no idea why it is called that but there is no agony involved, it happens too in animals that are being euthanized. I hope this has help clear some of the mystery and I will be glad to answer further questions
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My grandmother (dad's mom) saw my aunt (dad's older sis) and my dad. She talked to my dad and felt better. (he died ten years before she did) She told my SIL that my aunt thought she was pretty. This was a week before she died. My MIL's dad, however, saw a man burning not long before he died and was telling her about it. She still brings it up every now and then. I know it hurts her to remember that.
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My dad withdrew and didn't want to watch TV or do anything. Lots of sleeping. He was just very passive and calm/quiet near the end. His doctor (a geriatrician) thought he was depressed and wanted to start him on anti-depressants. I thought he was dying, since he was a year into his lung cancer diagnosis, where he was given about a year to live. I was right. Shows you how much some doctors understand about the dying process - or maybe how even they're not equipped to deal with it.
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yea, my mother was calling out to her previously deceased brother johnny for help as she was failing. delerium.. i told her johnny was smoking pall mall reds in hell and couldnt help her. a very disturbing time, humor is about all i had left to offer.
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Refusing to eat, then refusing to drink, also telling people that they see loved ones who have already passed, can be signs that a person will soon be dying. On the other hand I've seen cases where hospice has told the family that death would be "in the next ____ hrs or days, and they have been very surprised to find the loved one lasted much longer.
If they are not communicating, and have terminal restlessness, there is no way to know what is going on in their minds. Months after my father died, I had a dream in which he told me "the reason that I kept trying to get out of bed was that I thought it was time to go to work". Just a dream? maybe, but I like to think Dad was sending me a message. There have been some other interesting things that have happened within the family. Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but I like to think he is aware of our happenings here on earth.
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my mother stopped eating and drinking and in fact knew she was dying and even asked me how was she going to get out of this. ( dying ) . she was gone in 3 days . her digestive system had ceased to function. she did sleep a lot cause her heart was failing. she required haldol the last 3 months of her life because of constant hallucinations / delusional thinking. terminal restlessness followed by terminal agitation are signs of end of life.
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Reading the pamphlets offered by hospice organizations may give you some insights.

My husband died of dementia. In the last year his overall health declined to the point where he could no longer do activities he had before. Going places became so hard that the effort usually outweighed the benefits. We only went out for very special things. In the final weeks his eating became quite irregular. He spent increasing time in bed. (More than 20 hours a day at the end.)

He'd been on antidepressants for many years (following a head injury). The drug worked and he did not display signs of depression. This was true right up to the end.
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