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How to Know Someone Who is Terminally Ill is Nearing Death

Home Health Care in Hillsboro OR: Terminal Illness

Many family caregivers are caring for an older adult with a terminal illness, like cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a difficult journey and one filled with uncertainty. One of the worries you may have is what to expect as the older adult approaches death. It’s also hard to know when their death might be near. Below are some things that may happen as the older adult’s body begins to shut down.


Reduced Appetite

As the time of death nears, the body slows down and uses less energy than it previously did. As a result, the elder adult won’t need as much food to fuel their body. They may also drink less. When appetite decreases, don’t try to force the person to eat. Instead, allow them to eat when they feel hungry. To help them stay hydrated, try offering ice pops.


Increased Sleep

In the two to three months before death, your aging relative may start to sleep more than they used to. This happens because metabolism reduces, providing less energy for the body. Do your best to keep your aging relative comfortable and allow them to sleep as needed.


Decreased Desire to Socialize

With decreasing energy levels, your older family member might be less inclined to spend time with other people. Conversation takes energy, so they may prefer to be alone. In addition, those who are particularly private may not want to share their decline with others. Try not to take their requests to be alone personally. Instead, offer them company when they do feel up to it.


Changes in Vital Signs

You can expect to see changes in several vital signs. For example, a person nearing death often experiences a drop in blood pressure. The way they breathe may also change. In addition, their heartbeat may become faint and irregular. Urine may also become darker because kidney function is decreasing.


Decreased Body Temperature

In the last couple of days before your older family member passes, their body temperature will drop. This happens because of reduced circulation to extremities. Instead, the blood flow focuses on internal organs. Although their skin may feel cold, the person may not feel cold themselves. However, it’s a good idea to offer them a soft blanket just in case.

Home care can be an important part of making the last months of your aging relative’s life as comfortable as possible. Home care providers can prepare foods for the senior that are easy to eat. Home care providers can also assist with things like taking the older adult to the bathroom, changing bedding, and doing laundry. In addition, a home care provider can be a source of companionship and relieve loneliness and worries the senior may be experiencing.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Health Care in Hillsboro, OR, please contact the caring staff at Integrity In-Home Care. Call today (503) 660-3755