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Social Withdrawal and Changes in Urination

10 Signs Death Is Near : Page 3

By , Caring.com contributing editor
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 6. Social withdrawal

As the body shuts down, the dying person may gradually lose interest in those nearby. He or she may stop talking or mutter unintelligibly, stop responding to questions, or simply turn away.

A few days before receding socially for the last time, the dying person sometimes surprises loved ones with an unexpected burst of alert, attentive behavior. This can last less than an hour or up to a full day.

How to respond: Be aware that this is a natural part of the dying process and not a reflection of your relationship. Maintain a physical presence by touching the dying person and continuing to talk, if it feels appropriate, without demanding anything back. Treasure an alert interlude if and when it occurs, because it's almost always fleeting.

 7. Changes in urination

Little going in (as the person loses interest in food and drink) means little coming out. Dropping blood pressure, part of the dying process (and therefore not treated at this point, in tandem with other symptoms), also contributes to the kidneys shutting down. The concentrated urine is brownish, reddish, or tea-colored.

Loss of bladder and bowel control may happen late in the dying process.

How to respond: Hospice medical staff sometimes decides that a catheter is necessary, although not in the final hours of life. Kidney failure can increase blood toxins and contribute to a peaceful coma before death. Add a bed pad when placing fresh sheets.