As your aging family member’s health changes and she starts to near the end of her life, it helps to have an understanding what she’s experiencing and what signs you’ll see. This can help you and other family members as well as your end of life care provider to know when it’s edging closer to time for you to say goodbye.
Months or Weeks Before Passing
A few months before your senior passes away, she may experience some symptoms that at the time are subtle. It may only be later when the significance of those changes becomes obvious. Your elderly family member may be far more fatigued, and health issues she’s battling may become more challenging for her. Her skin may start to thin even more and she may experience skin injuries more easily. It’s also likely that she’ll start to lose weight without trying to do so and experience changes to her appetite and to her ability to eat. Her doctor may have some options that can assist with these issues, and end-of-life care can make life easier for your senior and for you.
Days Before Passing
As your senior’s life edges even closer to the end, some of these symptoms might change even more. Your elderly family member may have greater difficulty regulating body temperature on her own. Having more blankets around and ways for your senior to adjust her environment can help. She may also start to experience changes to her sleeping patterns and her appetite is likely to decrease significantly. End-of-life care providers can help to monitor things like blood pressure changes, which are also likely to occur near the end of life.
Right Before Passing
In the immediate hours before passing away, your senior may seem to rebound a bit, with energy and lucidity that you might be surprised to see. That can fade quickly, leaving behind more obvious signs that your elderly family member is fading. She may experience even lower blood pressure levels, difficulty breaking, and cold extremities. Gradually you may notice that she slips into sleep and has difficulty staying awake. It starts to become obvious that your elderly family member is definitely fading away, until she does indeed pass away.
It’s never easy emotionally to hold space for an elderly family member who is dying. Add in the difficulty of others grieving the loss of your elderly family member and life becomes very complicated. Having help when you need it from end-of-life care services makes a tremendous difference and allows you to do what you need to do.