We all have a unique journey towards death. There are people who experience a gradual decline, while there are others who fade very quickly. When a loved one is approaching death, the main role of those around is to be there and to offer comfort in any way possible.
You need to reassure your loved one by using soothing words as well as action to help them get comfort and go with dignity. In the elderly, there are so many issues that could possibly crop up and you may see them as they fade away. Excessive sleeping elderly signs of death could help you get ready for the final moments.
If you have a care team for an elderly loved one and they recognize that it’s time to die in a couple of months, it is very likely that they will advise you to take them to hospice.
This is a place that is specialized to offer care, especially for persons who have a terminal illness and those expected to die. During their time in hospice, they receive comfort and sometimes pain relief depending on the condition they are battling.
The close family of the sick, elderly person also gets spiritual and emotional support so that they can be prepared for what is coming.
Signs that could tell you death is imminent
There are some changes that you should be able to see when the body stops to work, as it should. This is very much a part of dying. For younger people such as teenagers and children, the process is quite similar but sometimes rather hard to predict because they can remain active and can ask questions that may be too hard to answer.
For the elderly, however, it is rather straightforward at times since you can actually tell the changes they are experiencing. You can know it’s time to die a couple of months before death because an elderly person could:
- Tend to be more sleepy than usual
- Reduce the amount of food and drink taken
- Stay away from people or activities that they had enjoyed previously
- Talk less
When the elderly person is a few weeks to their death, they may be too drained or tired that they may not be able to leave the bed. You can notice the following:
- The elderly person may have the different wake and sleep patterns
- They lose appetite and have no desire to drink
- They don’t get a lot of bowel movements or pee
- They may be in more pain than usual
- Their blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing may change
- Their temperature may fluctuate up and down, leaving the skin pale, moist, warm, or cool
- Their breathing could become congested due to build up at the back of the throat
- They may look confused or they tend to be in a daze
When you notice breathing issues, you may be distressed and worried. However, in most cases, it is not painful and can be managed easily. The pain an elderly person experiences can also be treated. However, the loved one may have a rather difficult time take medicines orally.
It is also possible for your loved one to get visions and hallucinations, especially of loved ones who died in the past and this can be a bit comforting.
When they see and talk to people who died before, they tend to be happy. In such a case, as a caregiver, refrain from trying to tell them that what they are seeing is not real. Doing so can make them upset and they may try to argue with you.
What happens a few hours to death?
When death is hours away, your elderly loved one may:
> Refuse drinks or food completely
> Stop having bowel movements and peeing
> Scowl, groan or grimace from the pain
You may also notice:
- Their eyes glaze over or tear
- Irregular heartbeat and pulse or very hard to hear
- A drop in the body temperature
- The skin on the hands, feet, or knees can become mottled blue-purple
- The breathing gets interrupted often and gasps can be heard up until they stop breathing entirely
- Drift in and out of consciousness if not already unconscious. It is important to remember that the loved one may still feel and hear you during such moments and it would be nice to talk to them and touch them so they know they are not alone.
During the very last hours. The elderly person gets confused and restless and can have upsetting hallucinations that can cause them to try to get out of bed, strikeout, or even cry out.
At his time, your presence is all that is needed. Try to soothe them with a gentle touch and some music. Medicating them can also help. It is possible for your loved one to be very clear headed in the final hours.
What does death feel like?
One of the greatest fascinations that humans have is death. While most people fear death, there is still a mystery surrounding it that makes us more attentive, since it is not possible to comprehend it entirely.
So, what does death feel like? The truth is that it is not clear because gathering such information is not possible for obvious reasons. However, there are still theories and research is still being done to answer this question.
Most of the things we know about dying have to do with what we are told by people who may have had near death experiences or by the things people talk about when they are about to die.
Things that happen to the body
One of the things that happen is that you are depleted of oxygen and this makes circulation slow down. This also makes the skin mottle and when it is extreme, the skin becomes cold.
Difficulty in breathing or noisy breathing is also witnessed. When circulation, breathing, and heartbeat stop, you are clinically dead. The biological death actually happens a few minutes later as the brain cells die because they are deprived of oxygen.
How death feels mainly depends on the way a person dies and this affects what we know about it. There are people who die because of illness and they may not be able to say what they are feeling exactly. This is because they can be too sick or too unconscious to say anything. This means that we can only observe.
Death is personal meaning that you may experience different things. Some of the things that you may experience include:
- You may feel as if you are dreaming
- You may see life flash right before your eyes
- You may still know what is happening around you
- You may be in pain depending on whether you are sick
- You may feel normal
- You may feel dizzy
- You may not feel anything and it may feel good to die that could possibly explain why some people die with a smile on their faces.
End stage renal failure symptoms before death
When the kidneys are not able to filter waste products and excess water from the bloodstream, it is referred to as a renal failure. There are many causes of this failure.
Conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, when experienced in the long term, can cause this. However, the issue can also develop quickly after one gets severe infections. Common symptoms include:
> Drowsiness and fatigue
> Shortness of breath
> Water retention
> Loss of appetite and nausea
> Not passing urine or passing it in low amounts
How it affects people when life is ending
You cannot reverse renal failure and when one does not opt for dialysis, one gets confused and may not be able to move. The person’s consciousness can also deteriorate quite fast.
If the failure is complicating other illnesses, the symptoms you may get include loss of appetite, nausea, drowsiness, Itching, and fatigue, which tend to get worse.
The failure can also make you more sensitive to certain medications and this may cause even more discomfort and side effect. At the end of life, pain medications may be administered since the patient can benefit from them.
One may not get dialysis when they are at the end of life stage. It is common for patients to be put on some fluid restriction so that the water retention effects are minimized. However, this can be relaxed when death is imminent.
How to die in sleep
Getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating well are what makes our bodies healthy. However, sleeping can also be dangerous. There are many things that can go wrong when you sleep and are unconscious.
This is why you may have heard of things like people dying in their sleep without any signs of illness. The dangers are also the same where seniors are concerned.
What you may not have known is that the brain remains active even as we sleep and there are so many things that are not clear about sleep. Some of the ways in which you can die in your sleep include:
- A sudden cardiac arrest
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Myocardial infarction
- Sleep apnea (central)
- Cerebral aneurysm
- Dry drowning
- Respiratory Arrest
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
End of life issues
You cannot be fully prepared for death, especially of a loved one. However, there are some issues that you should be aware of regarding the end of life that can help you say goodbye and cope with the issue.
1. People can have a hard time swallowing and that is why they refuse to eat. You should try to give the person some softer foods and allow them adequate time to eat without any rush.
2. Another issue is the weakness. This is because the person is not eating and their energy is low. This makes the simple activities, as we know them hard to do. You may have to give them a straw and help them lift their head. An elderly not eating should be noted and addressed. Make sure you move them to avoid sores.
How long does it take an elderly person to die without food or water?
Food and water keep us alive because they supply our bodies with everything that is required to function. When our bodies are dying, it is normal that we may stop eating. It happens naturally and this makes the body get progressively weaker.
When an elderly person refuses to eat or drink anything, the progressive weakness causing death happens days or even weeks, sooner than would have been the case if they were eating.
There is no specific period that can be mentioned here. However, we should understand that the bodies of seniors are weaker due to age and they may have been made even weaker because of the presence of disease. As such, elderly stop eating and drinking life expectancy may be much shorter.
3. Breathing issues may also be observed. The senior may be short of breath. Secretions in the throat and mouth can be excessive, and can cause gurgling sounds. You should understand that this is natural and it may not be bothering your loved one. Medical patches can be used to dry secretions.
4. Another issue is urination. Dehydration will cause low blood pressure and this, in turn, causes a decrease in renal function and ultimately renal failure. Usually, urine will be concentrated and the odor will be quite strong. When the kidneys cannot clean the blood, waste will accumulate within the body and the elderly person will be less alert. All you can do is make sure no urinary obstruction is present.
- Swelling of hands, ankles, and feet
- Circulation and cardiac changes
- Discolored skin
- Decubitus ulcers
Excessive sleep in elderly
When you are caring for an elderly person, you may get concerned when they start sleeping too much. As we age, sleep becomes lighter and we may be awakened by aching joints or the need to use a restroom.
Most seniors will usually compensate this with a nap during the day, which is quite normal. Sleeping in the day becomes an issue when the person seems to be sleeping most of the time instead of interacting with people.
If such a thing happens, you need to find out whether there are any reasons that are causing this. You may need the help of a doctor for this.
Some of the reasons for excessive sleep include:
> Boredom especially because of changes that are age related chronic health issues
> Side effects of medications and interactions
Sometimes, and especially when serious conditions are present, excessive sleep may show that the health is deteriorating. This may mean that you take the elderly person to a doctor so as to know whether there is something that can be done.
It is important to appreciate the fact that excessive sleeping is indeed a sign that death is near especially when the elderly person is rarely awake.
Signs of body shutting down in elderly
There are many things that can tell you that an elderly person’s body is shutting down. This has to do with the normal functions of the body and how the person is behaving in general.
Usually, you will notice that their sleep changes to a great extent. The elderly patient may sleep a lot because they do not have enough energy because parts of the body are shutting down.
The bodily functions such as urination and bowel movements may also reduce significantly. You may notice that the urine is more concentrated than normal, usually because of renal failure
The person may also be incapable of moving or talking. They may also have difficulty breathing and the heart rate may be rather slower than normal. These are some of the things that should tell you a loved one’s body is slowly shutting down and they are signs of imminent death in elderly.
This is probably one of the hardest things that we have to do. This is also the final chance to actually make more memories. You should let close friends and relatives know when you are certain that death is coming.
You should also get support from professionals to prepare for this. You should know what is happening to the elderly person. In addition, understanding your own emotional and physical reactions can be very helpful in dealing with the pain of losing someone that you love.
Even if you are able to gather, it may not be possible to be there physically. Sometimes the person dies after he or she has been left alone. Being there as friends and family allow you to have the kind of support that this hard moment requires.
Death is not an easy topic and most of us do not like talking about it. However, when you are caring for an elderly person, it is important to know a thing or two about what to expect when death is near. This helps you prepare emotionally and make the person as comfortable as you possibly can. Understanding that excessive sleepiness could mean death is imminent, keep you alert. Since there are other issues that can cause sleepiness, you should always seek a doctor’s attention to find out whether there are other underlying issues.