Near Death: 10 Potential Signs of Death in Elderly Seniors
If you have an elderly loved one who is approaching death, it may be hard to comprehend and deal with. It almost seems like one minute they’re fine and the next they’ve taken a turn for the worst. It’s hard to know what death looks like in the elderly, especially if you haven’t been around someone who was dying before.
It’s usually a good idea to start preparing yourself if you detect signs of death in elderly relatives. If your loved one is residing in a good retirement home, you can speak with one of the nurses or doctors about what stage they’re in and what you can do to make things easier for your loved one.
Knowing what to expect may help make things a little easier. In this blog post, we’ll go over the potential signs of death in elderly seniors to help you prepare yourself.
1. Sleeping More
One of the major signs of death in elderly people is that you find them sleeping more. It may also be more difficult to awaken them. They may be unresponsive and uncommunicative. This lack of wakefulness is due to the body’s metabolism becoming weaker. Without this metabolic energy, it is normal for a person to sleep more.
2. Change in Appetite
Change in appetite is another big sign of death in the elderly. The reason for this is simple. A person who is dying is considerably less active than they used to be. As such, their bodies require less energy than before. They will begin to eat and drink less as their appetite decreases. When an elderly person is just days away from death, they may stop eating and drinking entirely.
3. Congested Breathing
This is a key signs of death in elderly people. You may hear noises like gurgling sounds coming from inside the chest and it may seem like the person is having trouble breathing. Other things may happen to their breathing like suddenly changing speed, gasping for air, or they may pause between breaths.
As the person gets closer to the end of their life, their breathing will become more laborious and it will become more and more of a chore until they are unable to breathe any longer.
An elderly person approaching death my become confused and not know where they are, how they got there, and what is going on. They may even have trouble identifying family members. If they have trouble identifying you, don’t get upset and take it personally. This is just something that happens as human beings approach death.
5. Weakened Muscles
As an elderly person approaches death, their muscles become weaker. This could be because they have been in bed for a prolonged period and have not been using their muscles. It could also be from a decrease in appetite resulting in muscle loss.
6. Increase in Pain
A person who is dying is usually experiencing higher levels of pain. This can be mitigated with painkillers, but if the pain is severe and the person requires a lot of pain medication, it could put them to sleep. Just remember that they can most likely still hear you so be sure to spend some time at their bedside telling them happy stories.
7. Dropping Body Temperature
Drop-In body temperature is another big indicator that death is close by. The body starts to focus on pumping blood to its internal organs, reducing circulation to other body parts like arms, legs, hands and feet. When you touch them, they will likely feel cool to the touch.
Another sign of death in the elderly is incontinence. Your loved one may become unable to control their urinary or bowel movements. Once they are at the end of life and have stopped eating and drinking completely, they will no longer need to use the bathroom. It makes sense from a physiological point of view but is still hard to witness in a loved one.
Another sign of death in elderly people is restlessness. When they experience restlessness, they will show signs of physical and emotional restlessness which can manifest itself as anxiety, agitation, and cognitive decline.
Hallucinations are common when someone is dying. It’s advisable during this stage of the dying process, which usually happens one to two weeks before death, not to correct what your loved one is saying. They have no control over what is happening to them so this might just make them feel worse. Give your loved one a lot of support by listening to what they’re telling you and try not to correct them.
These signs of death in the elderly should help tell you when your loved one is preparing for death. Just remember that all these signs are normal and all your loved one needs from you is someone to hold their hand and tell them you love them.