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Death is never pleasant. Knowing that one’s loved one is nearing the end of their life or has a terminal illness is a difficult concept to grasp for anyone.
Whether your loved one or you finds out that their time on earth is limited due to disease or old age, knowing what to expect as death approaches might help you better prepare. In addition, you’ll have more time to think things through and come up with plans that will provide you with some measure of relief and ease.
If you’ve hired hospice providers, they can assist you or a loved one in making the final stages of dying hospice as comfortable as possible. They may be a great source of comfort and guidance during this trying time.
This article will cover the different stages of death and dying.
Signs Someone Is Dying
Following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of dying. A person’s illness and drugs can significantly impact their symptoms, yet some bodily changes are common at the last stages of dying. These can also be interpreted as signs of dying from old age.
Pain at the end of life is undoubtedly the most dreadful indication of death, especially if your loved one is dying from cancer. Inevitably, a person’s suffering will worsen as their time on earth draws closer and closer. When someone is in pain, it’s normal to display physical symptoms of that agony. These facial expressions include grimacing, wailing, groaning, or scowling.
As it turns out, there is a wide range of medications that can help alleviate pain. It doesn’t matter what kind of illness your loved one is suffering from; the capacity to identify and manage pain is critical.
Difficulties With Breathing
One of the most prevalent signs of death is a lack of breath or difficulty breathing. Most people experience some degree of breathlessness as they approach death. The breath of the dying keeps fluctuating, and they will take sudden gasps for air.
Muscles Get Weaker
Muscles weakness is one of the major signs of elderly dying. People with weak muscles may be unable to perform simple actions that they were previously able to. They may no longer be able to drink from a cup or turn over in bed. A dying person’s loved ones should assist them in doing these everyday tasks.
End-of-life anxiety is one of the common dying symptoms. People who are dying may begin to fear for their well-being and for those they leave behind. Depression and anxiety are completely normal in the final dying process timeline.
Decreased Hunger and Thirst
A person’s level of activity diminishes as time passes. As a result, their body now requires less energy. As their hunger fades, they stop eating or drinking as much. It is crucial to know that a terminally sick person’s need for less food is natural and does not speed up the process of death.
During the dying process stages, allowing a loved one who is dying to eat when they are hungry is the best course of action for the caregiver. Ice pops are a great way to keep them hydrated. A few days before death, a person may stop eating entirely.
Before death, people may spend less time awake in the final few weeks. Because their metabolism is weakening, they are unable to stay awake. People who are low in metabolic energy tend to sleep more.
If you’re caring for a dying loved one, make the patient comfortable and allow them to sleep. Bedsores can be avoided by encouraging their loved ones to move or get out of bed when they have energy.
Decreased Social Interaction
A dying person may no longer desire to spend as much time with others as they used to. Try not to be offended if your loved one becomes less social as they approach death.
It’s fairly uncommon for people to feel self-conscious about allowing others to see them in a weak state. To avoid this, it’s best to schedule visits when the person who’s dying can interact with others.
Vomiting and Nausea
Vomiting and nausea can occur due to illness, medication, or other therapy. Both you and your loved one may find it difficult to deal with this situation. Medications for nausea, fresh air, eating small meals, and reducing scents are some of the ways you can help your loved one manage these symptoms, as well.
Fluctuations in Vitals
When a person is on the verge of passing away, their vital signs can undergo the following changes:
- A decrease in blood pressure occurs.
- Changes in breathing
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Heartbeats might be difficult to detect.
- Urine may be brown, tan, or rust-colored.
Changes in Toilet Habits
The bowel movements of a dying person may become less frequent because they are eating and drinking less. They may be passing less solid waste. Urination may also be less frequent.
When they stop eating and drinking totally, they may no longer need to go to the bathroom. Seeing a loved one go through these changes might be upsetting, but they are normal. Talking to the hospice provider about getting the patient a catheter could be beneficial.
Restlessness and Delirium
People on the verge of death experience disorientation, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. As the condition progresses, the brain receives less oxygen and suffers from delirium. This could be brought on by medicine or simply by the patient’s state of mind slipping suddenly.
In the last palliative care stages of dying, urine and bowel incontinence are common. Irregular bodily functions, such as incontinence, make it unable to control your bodily functions. An illness or surgery can cause a person to have difficulty using the bathroom. When the patient’s muscles have completely relaxed, they will commonly let go of the contents of their bowels.
Mottling of the Skin and Cold Hands and Feet
During the end stages of your life, your blood flow becomes more focused on your important organs and less on the rest of your body. You’ll notice a significant decrease in blood flow to you or your loved one’s hands, feet, and lower legs. Because of this, the skin and limbs may feel cold to the touch. As a result, the heart rate slows, and the body’s temperature drops.
This discoloration may spread up the arms and legs over time. Bluish or purple discoloration of the lips and nail beds is also possible.
As physical changes occur toward the end of life, the following emotional and spiritual signs of dying may also occur to your loved ones.
Disposing of Belongings and Arranging for the Funeral
Some people want to retain some degree of control over their lives; thus, they want to make decisions concerning their assets or themselves. In what ways can you help: While it might be difficult for families to discuss final arrangements, it is crucial to let your loved one do so if they choose. It’s a comfort to everyone, but it’s especially meaningful to those near death.
The patient may claim to have had conversations with the dead. They may claim to have been to or seen places or things that aren’t immediately obvious to you. Neither a hallucination nor a medication reaction could account for this. It’s a common symptom of the dying process.
Permission and Communication
Your loved one may make statements or requests that appear out of character. They may be trying to check if you’re ready to let go. They may prefer to spend time with a small group of friends. They may be only looking for one person.
Not being included in something does not imply that you are not valuable or valued. It’s a good sign if you’ve reached this point with the individual. Choosing you may indicate that the individual in question is in need of your support, encouragement, and permission to let go.
Saying Final Goodbyes
This is the final moment before they die. Hold their hands and say whatever comes to your mind. It might be as simple as “I love you,” or it could be a recollection of some of your most memorable moments together. An apology or a sincere “thank you” could be helpful. You don’t have to cover up your tears. Tears are a way of expressing your love and letting go.
Feel free to call us at All American Hospice and arrange a consultation with one of our caregivers if you have any questions or concerns about end-of-life symptoms and signs.