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How long will it take for her to die in her condition?

44 answers | Last updated: Aug 27, 2014
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Caring.com User - Joyce Simard
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A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She...
54% helpful
answered...

When a person dies is sometimes not easy to determine until they are actively dying. Their is no way to predict exactly when someone will die. Your hospice nurse can usually tell when it will be a matter of hours. Rather than focus on her death, spend time celebrating her life. Talk to her even though she seems not to respond. let her know that you will miss her but you will have many happy memories to keep in your heart. Massage her hands, arms and feet if that seem to bring pleasure to her. Play music she enjoyed in the past, read something you think she will enjoy or that will help you let her go. My prayers are with you. Joyce Simard

J

 

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47% helpful
jlibra50 answered...

I so much agree with Joyce. I'd much rather focus on celebrating my mom's life than concerned as to when she will die. My mom is 71 years old in a nursing home because of dementia. Her dementia really came full force about 3 years ago after her mom passed. My mother was a caretaker for her mother for over 10 years, therefore the neurologist says, the loss of her parent left a huge space in her mind leaving her with nothing to fill the void. That triggered the Alzheimer's. We (her children) had a hard time trying to take care of our mom, without any training. She was very combative, argumentative, loss of memory (not knowing who her kids were)and it became so stressful, with most of us having full-time jobs, we had to do something because her health, physical hygiene was going down. Since she's been placed in a home, my mother looks so much better, she looks younger, still combative to the nurses, but she's alive and well. We love our mother and it was a very hard decision for us (her kids) to make. February, will be a year that she has been at a nursing facility. We visit our mom at least twice if not three times a week. I solicit your prayers, because I still haven't fully accepted my mom being in a nursing home with Alzheimer's. I still cry after I've seen her, but I'm getting better. I solicit your prayers for my family. J. Ward

 

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jpreaves answered...

I don't think a person can ever be ready for a time that we really don't want to come. I know my wife will soon not recognize me and perhaps at that time I will have to take her to a Nursing Home where she will have round the clock care. I never thought I would say that! My family traditionally have taken care of their own and died at home. Even those with Alzheimer's. Why am I thinking these thoughts then? I am much older than my wife at 78 years old and there is no one else to help me take care of her, so it has been a long trek for me and I am getting very tired and don't want this to ruin my health. Two ladies from my church whose spouses died in a Nursing Home took me to visit the Home they put their loved ones in and I must tell you, I was impressed. I would go to visit my wife every day and at the same time find some respite.

I hope I won't be sorry.

JP

 

71% helpful
frena answered...

it's hard to be exact, because everyone does vary, but probably only a few weeks now. so,know it will come and it's always unexpected however much we expect it. just be fully with her now and know she does know you're there (that's a well-researched fact, not woo-woo nonsense) and she can hear you (the very last sense to go) and so you can talk to her about anything now. it's wonderful time to let go and love and thank and forgive so that when she does finally die, your own heart will be free to grieve and also to renew your own spirit for life. bless you for being so faithful. soon it will be your time to restore yourself. take care.

 

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karrenwithheart answered...

Hi, I just lost my mom in July and the hardest time is right before death. I spent the last 5 days trying to be as close as I could. I read the Bible and sang Jesus Loves You. I let her know that the greatest gift next to Jesus was her and dad as my parents. It is hard but loving her untill the end gives me a peace in my heart. Karren

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

My mother died at end-stage Alzheimer's. One day she went into a sort of semi-vegetative state and stopped swallowing. We immediately put her on hospice care. She only weighed probably 80 pounds. For a week she lay there. We gave her morphine under the tongue. After exactly a week, she died. Your mother might take longer if she's still eating.

 

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frena answered...

actually that state is not as vegetative as you would think. that is normal dying. people commonly seem more sleeping than waking but they are not unconscious and they can hear and even respond with speech (though weakly). in normal dying, people typically no longer take food or water, because their bodies do not want or need these in the dying process. i'd like to recommend to everyone a wonderful, heart-warming, spirit supporting (non-religion-specific) book by two hospice nurses titled titled "Final Gifts." It is the best book i have ever read on just understanding the dying process. And it will take all the fear out of your heart (except for your own dying, and that's a different kettle of fish, as we all know.)

i'm so happy to hear that none of these families used the feeding tube choice (a terrible ordeal for the alzheimer's person dying) and that they've all had the great courage to stand by with their dying family members. bless you all for that.

 

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rellim answered...

I am not sure when this discussion started, but I agree everyone has a different story. My dad passed Oct21st of this year,2010. He had been progressively getting worse over the past 6 months. He got very weak and lost a lot of weight. I had to spoon feed him most of the last 3 months. he then got to where he could not chew,after a month of soft foods, I had to start pureeing his foods. He could no longer wear his false teeth because of weight loss and they didn't fit right. two weeks later he was gone. He was put on oxygen on a MOnday, had 3 really good days, ate well and was alert. Thursday he became lethargic. The weekend, he just ate and slept. He was finally put on hospice at noon Tuesday. At 10a.m. Thursday he was gone. I miss him but he is at peace now and not suffering, he had moved in with me Feb.5th of 2008. I lerned from hospice the reason he lost weight was because his food was mainly going in his lungs and he was not absorbing it into his body. I agree with frena, the feeding tube was out of the question, he could have lasted months in a very poor state of mind and no quality of life. One woman around here lasted 7 years like that, yes 7 years. I personally would not want that for me or my family to have to deal with. I am Thankful I was able to keep my dad here at my house right to the end. He passed in the room we called his, I have no problem with that either because that is what he wanted. The last 2and a half plus years of my life had been put on hold for him, but I do not regret it. It was not all rosey but I accept the fact that when you are caring for someone 24/7 with very little outside help there are bound to be "upsetting" times. At this time I am having having trouble getting motivated to go on with my life. I have started to clean his room several times but don't seem to get much accomplished. It will go back to being aplay room for my grandkids like it was befor he moved in. Anyway, although he was eating good, he lost weight for six months, got bed bound for six months, lost chewing power for 3 months, the last week he had trouble swallowing, got choked all the time. hopefully this will help. My prayers are with all of you, caretaking is no easy job and I feel blessed to have been the one to see my dad through to the end.

Rellim

 

80% helpful
Shannon75 answered...

Dear Rellim, Everyone grieves differently, and you should be at great peace knowing you were able to keep your Dad's wishes in place all the way until he died. From what I have been reading, and from what I already know, we can promise one thing to our loved ones, but in the end, we just cannot always keep these promises to our loved ones. It usually is because of our own physical well-being, and that "voice" inside of us that is telling us that we need to get more rest, or whatever the case may be. God Bless you for being able to carry your Dad's wishes all the way through to the end, and also making it sound like such an honor to be able to care for him! Please give yourself plenty of time to grieve now. You not only have earned this, you owe it to yourself! Someday, you will be able to change his room back into your grandchildren's toy room, but in the meantime, and for as long as it takes, just take things one day at a time. I take care of my twin grandchildren, ages 3-1/2 years old, and I was the main caregiver for my mother-in-law, age 79, for about the past 4 years, but we did have to make the choice of placing her in a wonderful nursing home this past April, 2010. I did have to cut down the hours I could care for our 2 beautiful grandchildren, so I could spend more time with my MIL, while she is nearing the end of her life. I know when she is gone, I too will have a very hard time filling that void in my life, because I had been the one that would go to her apartment several times a week, lots of sleepovers too, and then came the realization that she could no longer care for herself, and I was becoming just way too runned down, and I knew it!!! She has 3 grown children, and one being my husband for the past 36 years! My husband, and his sister live here in town, and the other son lives in Texas and is a registered nurse! He is coming up for only the 2nd time this year this coming Tuesday, but he too has a busy schedule. Her children here just don't help very much at all, and I know my husband figures that I am covering for him. Her daughter says, "That's not my mother laying there!" Well, then who's Mother is it? She never really helped though, even before the Dementia and Alzheimer's set in. My own mother died when I was only 11, and I have always been close to my MIL, so with that being said, she has always been like a mother to me, and I too feel honored to go and be with her, and stay overnight at least 4-5 nights a week at the nursing home. Many nights she tells me to lay with her, but then I try to sneak out, and just lay back in the recliner next to her bed, so she can sleep more soundly. It is a comfort to her to have someone close. She tells me that she is not afraid to die, and I do play her favorite music softly in the background, and I bring her tiny little bowls of vanilla ice cream, because that is what she likes the most, and I feed it to her. I comb her hair softly and I scratch her thin frame of 100 pounds, softly on her back, and that is probably her favorite past-time right now. She lays her head on my shoulder, and it is just as heart-warming as holding our beautiful grandchildren!!! God Bless Us All!!!

 

50% helpful
rellim answered...

shannon75 Thank you for your kind words. I have 4 sisters and no brothers. 2 sisters live 2and a half hours away, one 10 hours away and one 6 hours away. One of the sisters 2and a half hours away came to help me some, but it got rare the last year and a half. The one that lives 6 hours away works for hospice and has for 18 years so you would think, her, of all of them would know what I was going through and try to help out more. They do all have busy schedules but so did I and I gave up alot to care for Dad, but don't regret it, I think they are the ones who have the regrets. I continued to work all during the time he was with me. Luckily I can bring my work home! I take care of a girl who has severe Cerebral Palsey. She is non verbal, can't walk, barely use her hands, foods have to be pureed. Some times I would have her at nights too. I have been taking care of her through United Cerebral Palsey for 10 and ahalf years now. She is 18!

Grandkids are definately a blessing. I continued to take a big part in their lives too. The youngest who is 4 now, would stay here during the day while his dad ( my son) worked, every other week. he was with his mom the other weeks. I have 3 other grandchildren, boy age 10, girl age 7 and girl age 5. The 5 year old doesn't live as close as the other 3 so don't see her much. The others are here every weekend with their dad who lives in a double wide behind me. The 7 and 4 year old loved to help me care for grandpa.

I did get a good start on the room over the weekend and plan to continue today. my work hours are 7 to 9 in the morning and then 12 to 6 in the afternoon. Afetr 6 I am wore out and don't get much done. So I get up early and try to work some befor my girl gets here. Then I have 3 hours to get other things done while she is at school/work. Anyway, thank you for kind words, good luck to you and your MIL, I know she is blessed to have you. And you are blessed too. Prayers to all! Rellim

 

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linda w answered...

My mother has dementia from many tia's and has been on hospice for last stage of dementia since last July. She had been having more and more trouble geting aroound and had been spending more time sleep either in bed or in chair when she got up during the day. A week ago Monday we had hospice come out because her BP sho up to 200/90 and they said she had had a mjassive stroke and probably had only 24 to 48 hours and was actively dying. Our son came up and we all told her that we would be alright and to just let go. We had morphine here and had given her a few doses for what appeared to be breathing difficulty and waited for her to pass. That was 9 days ago and she is stilo here but cannot talk or communicate except for an occasional nod of her head and she can not even suck on a straw but does eat a little yogurt every once in awhile. She seems to be in a great deal of pain if you move her to change her diaper or re position her. We had her on Hydocodone but it was making her very agitate4de and she would not close her eyes for a whole day except for just a second occasionally and would just stare at the ceiling. She is at home and is 89 years old. We do have womwnwho have been coming in every day to help my husband and I take care of her and they have helped but it is just so hard to see her this way. I just don't know how much longer she will have to be this way.

 

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:-( answered...

I lost my 95 year old Mother on Dec. 15, 2010. I retired from my job to care for her. She just wasn't getting adequate care in the nursing home and I was sure 24/7 care was better, even though I had no experience. I hired CNA help for three hours each morning to assist with bathing, dressing and feeding. That was when I ran errands. She could not stand or walk, dress herself or even turn over in bed. I got up every three hours to turn her. The caregivers taught me so much. I am 57 and never had children so I didn't even know how to change a diaper. She was quite healthy considering her advanced age. No chronic problems like heart disease or diabetes. She did have Parkinson's and dementia. She didn't know me...but she knew my husband...go figure. She had a hearty appetite and I'd like to believe it was because she was getting home cooking. She began having probems with choking or strangling. Not every day but the episodes were becoming more often. She slept a lot. She was awake only the three hours in the morning during the time the caregiver was here and we put her back to bed for a mid day nap. I thought she would be more comfortable in bed instead of sleeping in her wheelchair (as was happening in the nursing home). I got her up in the afternoon for about three hours and during that time fed her a late lunch(early dinner). Just before I put her to bed for the evening, she had fruit and/or yogurt or milk and a cookie. Everything was fine until the morning of Dec.4. I didn't have caregivers on weekend mornings so I was getting her up for the day. I gave her some juice and she began choking in a way that was different from previous times. She sounded like she was drowning. A wet bubbling cough. I was frightened out of my mind and she kept saying she was dying. I took her to the emergency room where we spent the day. They could find nothing wrong and the coughing had stopped by the time we got there. I brought her home in the afternoon and because she had not eaten or drank all day, I gave her some soup and a little sip of coke. The choking began again but with more intensity. I called the EMTs and they didn't have much hope of her surviving the trip to the hospital. She did, however, and soon improved. They began antibiotics, oxygen and fluids. Chest xays indicated aspiration pneumonia. She stabilized and they attempted a swallow test. The choking started again. They told us the only choice then was feedig tube. She made it clear before the dementia that she never wanted a feeding tube. The only thing left to do was bring her home, bring in hospice and dehydrate her to death. I'm still tortured about this. I feel I conspired to murder my mother. Hospice gave us morphine and ativan for application under the tongue. We swabbed her mouth with glycerin swabs and kept her warm and comfortable (I hope). Every day, her vitals got weaker and weaker and in 7 days, she was gone. I still don't know if we made the right choice. During that time I told her about my doubts. I kept asking her to give me a sign that our decisions were the right ones. But there was no sign. Not even an indication she was hearing me. I also told her she was forgiven for the times she was not a loving mother and I asked to be forgiven for the times I was not a nice daughter. I hope her passing was as peaceful as we could make it. I have sent notes for everyone's kindnesses and am now working on settling the estate. The final task is file her taxes and clean her room to reclaim it as a guest bedroom. This is the hardest thing I've ever done. I was a Daddy's girl and losing him to cancer 18 years ago was not nearly as hard. I believe the difference was the WAY they passed. I wonder if hospice if really as valuable as everyone thinks.

 

75% helpful
bonniecanby answered...

MY HUSBAND WAS IN THE HOSPICE FOR A WEEK AND A DAY. HE DIED ON NEW YEARS EVE. THE NURSE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE AT LEAST A MONTH LONGER. SINCE HE WAS AT HOME AND EXCEPT FOR THE 24HR NURSING I WAS ALONE IT WAS VERY HARD. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT HOSPICE.

I KNEW IT WAS CLOSE LWHEN OUR POODLE WOULDN'T LEAVE HIS SIDE. MY HUSBAND JUST WENT TO SLEEP IN HIS RECLINE. BOTH HIS CAREGIVE AND I KNEW HE WAS GONE. HE WAS PETTING THE DOG WHEN HE PASSED AND AFTER ABOUT FIVE MINUTES THE DOG JUMPED OFF HIS LAP AND LOOKED AT ME AS IF TO SAY MY JOB IS OVER. WHAT A WONDERFULL WAY TO GO. HOPE THAT YOR MOTHER IS AS LUCKY AS HE WAS. I WAS ALSO LUCKY BECAUSE I COULD SAY MY GOODBYS WITH HIM LOOKING AS HE ALWAYS LOOKED IN HIS CHAIR. BONNIE

 

67% helpful
rellim answered...

I caught the last half of a really good program yesterday. It was a documentary on Alzheimers, the last stages. I think it was on an HBO channel. I will try to find it again today to make sure. But the very last guy they showed was like watching my Dad die all over again. The symptoms and the way he went was exactley like my Dads. After watching it I thought to myself as I was crying, why couldn't I have seen this or been told this as I was careing for him. There really should be more info out there for people like us, finding this site was good for me, but I wasn't told about it, just accidentally came across it! rellim

 

56% helpful
JayR76 answered...

My 80 year old wife is and has been under hospice care at home since November 2009. She has a feeding tube; takes no food or liquid by mouth. She was weighed several months ago and weighed 48# at that time. She has since lost more. She's had several tia's and also had to have her left leg amputated. Her BP remains low at 90/58 due to the metoprolol she's on to reduce the stress on her heart. I removed her from a Nursing Home because of the abuse, mistreatment, and routine neglect which I observed and reported to not only the Administrator; but to the State Officials as well. All my complaints were swept under the rug. That North Carolina Nursing Home received a one star rating overall out of a possible five stars and reportedly was the best in the area. Due to her lack of muscle mass, I have gotten a transport chair because she is no longer able to use her walker even with my help. She no longer speaks to me although I try to talk to her every day as if nothing was wrong. She does watch television; but I doubt she comprehends what's going on. Things which I find a little amusing apparently she doesn't because there's no reaction to anything; even Saturday morning cartoons which I turn on for her bring no response. I do have a hospice aide coming in 4 mornings a week; the nurse comes every Thursday; and the doctor comes when called. The rest of the time I take care of her by myself. Our daughter lives about 45 minutes away; but doesn't want to help any longer because of my wife's extremely fragile state. She was afraid she would break her mother's bones; moved away and visits only occasionally. To those in my wife's condition (end stage of life) I strongly disapprove of Nursing Homes! My wife had been in three; I removed her from two because of the abuse and routine - and I do mean - routine neglect. In my experience, dogs in the County dog kennel get much better treatment than our (human) loved ones! There has to be a better way for our loved ones to get the respect they deserve to leave us with a large measure of dignity. She will remain here at home with me until the end since there are no caring facilities in existence!

 

50% helpful
laha1958 answered...

Many blessings to all who have posted. Despite the fact that we have relatives with the same disease, we all have our "journey" to complete on our own. After a 13 year battle with AD, my dear Mom passed on January 21st, 2011. I agree with the statements above regarding celebrating her life and not focusing on her death. I was her full time care giver for 2 years straight and I was with her to the end. I will always cherish the time I had with her. I too, struggled with her death and when she would go,I wished at times she would go just to make my life easier. I regret those feelings but also know that is just what happens and it is perfectly normal to feel that way. As much as I thought I was prepared for the past 2 years, I was not. I am still grieving for my mom. So, to answer the original question, there will come a time and you will know that death is iminent, until then, appreciate your time with your loved one and take it all in. Make them as comfortable as you possibly can, you will have no regrets and you will know you did the best you could for your loved one and they in turn will appreciate all of your efforts to make their last hours on earth peaceful and loved. To all my fellow care givers: Thank you and God Bless you all!

 

63% helpful
linnyb55 answered...

Don't know if I will be of any help but I just lost my mom on April 27, 2011. I was her primary caregiver. She had alzheimers for 10 plus years and was put on hospice for about 2 years. I also read this book on what to expect when they die, but mom wasn't like that. For about 2 or 3 months before her death she started gurgling. It came and went. The last two weeks she was gurgling everyday, but the pills we gave her took it away until that last night. She was gurgling from 10:00 pm until her death which was 11:52 the next morning. Nothing we gave her took it away this time, not even the morphine. It was terrible watching her gurgling and her body filling up with fluids. More or less mom drowned. We were always told that mom had a strong heart, not sure if that was the reason that she took so long to die. She would raise to her head like to catch her breathe and at that moment she was not breathing, then it would all start all over again. She did this for about 14 straight hours breathing, not breathing and gurgling. All of her children was beside her bedside when she died. I cared for her in her own home for about 5 years, and right now I am feeling so lost, I am so used to going non stop everyday just to takecare and to be with her. No too sure if anybody else has had it like this but from what I have read this wasn't the way it was suppose to go. It will take time but I will be ok. So if anybody would like to asked me any questions on anything I would gladly try to answer them. I have alot of experience with this terrible disease.

 

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mollyzmom answered...

Thank you all for sharing your stories. My precious Mom went into a nursing home two moths ago, after being in and out of the hospital for 6 months with aspiration pneumonia and rehab, which greatly agitated her. It was a heartbreaking experience, and she tried so hard to walk again so she could come home. The last bout with pneumonia took too much out of her, and her dementia worsened. She can no longer walk or stand on her own, and she is on a pureed diet to avoid the aspiration pneumonia. There are some problems with lack of staffing at the nursing home (and it has a 5-star rating on Medicare.gov), but she has gained weight since going there, and her room and the facility is beautiful. Unfortunately, I work full-time and live over 2 hours away. i go every weekend or every other to give my sister a break, and I also want to see Mom and be with her. Some in my family have criticized me for staying with her too long when I visit, but I need to be there, even if she doesn't know because she is asleep. Thanks for letting me know that she can hear and understand even if she can't speak. God bless all of you who are on this most difficult journey with your loved ones. Hold their hands and be thankful for each minute left. That's all we can do.

 

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bonniecanby answered...

Especially to Jay pleaase consider hospice care. The care from hospice is so very helpfull both in the home and in a nursing home or their own residence if available. my experience with them was great and everything was covered by them. Have any of you looked at the 5 wishes. If done eaarly enough it lets you know what yoour loved one's wishes are. It also brings home that we also should be doing this. Be Thankfull for each minute you have together however don't make them suffer needlessly.

 

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:-( answered...

@linnyb55. My Mama began the gurgling sounds on the morning that I consider the beginning of the end (11 days before her death). It is an extremely frightening sound. I also thought she was drowning. I found out at the hospital she was aspirating and I guess that is the source of the liquid in her lungs. When she was released from the hospital and put on hospice care, we were given drugs for her. The morphine was for pain and I guess to just keep her drugged with ativan to help with the agitation. There was also a drug we were told was adminisitered to help dry the lungs so she could breathe easier. I don't know how you could stand by for 2-3 months while she suffered from the aspiration. I thought it was terrible to be so helpless and unable to help Mama but it was only two weeks. It is so sad to see those we love suffer at the end of their lives. The ones who just pass in their sleep are the lucky ones indeed.

 

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Kittie Lover answered...

My mom, who has been with me and under my care for 8 years was put on hospice care 4 years ago. We have not used feeding tubes. She can still eat and drink, though spoon fed. When she first was admitted to hospice, she had stopped eating and they thought she would go soon. But she started eating and has survived 4 more years! She continues to qualify for hospice because of her overall condition...bedfast, sleeps all the time except when I am feeding her...needs total care. Her pulse and blood pressure remain good, so this really could go on indefinitely. One cannot predict, I have learned!!!

 

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Ebird answered...

Hospice care is great! My grandmother lived with us and was on Hospice. I learned so much from them. She refused a feeding tube and any more surgeries.I was trying to honor her wishes, but other family members would come over to visit and bring her food which she did not want or need at this point. She would end up vomiting or with explosive bowel movements.That was painful to watch. I asked the Hospice nurse to please speak with the family about this. They explained that I had told grandma that if she didn't eat or drink she would die and she seemed to be okay with this (she clearly did not want nourishment as she said, but she would not talk about dying. I feel this was because she knew it would/was happening and could except that, but talking about it was just too scary.) The Hospice nurse then explained that people use food for comfort. Food makes "US" feel better not the dying loved one. Dying from withheld nourishment is actually not a painful/uncomfrotable death at all, just the opposite. When nourishment is withheld, they do not aspirate or gurgle.So, when the family finally quit forcing her to eat she became very peaceful and actually no longer needed the morphine. She lasted 10 peaceful days. During those 10 days we talked, I read to her, played music and the family sang to her. When Hospice sent out a 24hr nurse because death was near, we told her it was okay to go to Jesus and she did. It was a beautiful end.

 

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know it all answered...

I think it took nerve to ask the question, and I have been searching for the same information. When you are giving care 24/7 to someone it is reasonable to wonder. My mother has declined significantly and is essentially bedridden. She can't carry on a conversation and hasn't been able to in years. Occasionally I see her struggle with a thought, only to lose it. Executive function, reasoning, and the ability to process information and stimuli have all been trashed by the disease process. I wonder how long this can go on because she is clearly in a miserable state with no quality of life. I would call it suffering.

 

Caring Community answered...

Hello 'know it all', Thank you for adding your response and sharing your personal caregiving experience taking care of your mother. You may find our End of Life Support Group (www.caring.com/support-groups/end-of-life) to be helpful as you take care of your mother during this difficult time. You can also peruse more end-of-life questions and answers here: http://www.caring.com/ask/end-of-life.

 

67% helpful
Julie Grey answered...

Hi everyone my mum is at what you may term midway through AD we dont live in the States so I hope you dont mind me adding my thought here,its just a relief to find somewhere to share I am her carer she lives with my husband and I and our 5 children I do not have other siblings I feel very scared for the future will I be able to manage/ we do not have hospice care here only for cancer patients she is going into respite for a week because I have to be away now she is incontinent memory is getting steadily worse she forgets all of our names and a bit sad at times she is also almost completly blind Im terrified of her moving around on her own because she bangs into doors and walls and Im so afraid she will really hurt herself,I dont mind looking after her and will do so as long as I can I must say Im terrified of the experiences here as I feel we are just beginning that part of the journey,I feel gulity because at times I feel resentfull not for the job Im doing but because Im an only child with no one to share my husband is great but she isint his mother and to be honest she wasnt the nicest to him when all was well only he is such an understanding man I dont know what I would have done its also sad to watch my childrens reactions out of 5 my eldest son age 19 and my youngest daughter age 12 are the only ones who have not backed away firom her my 17 year old boy has Aspergers Syndrome he is fine but lacks empathy,my 16 year old girl stays out of the house as much as she can and my 9 year old is just afraid,it has such an enourmous impact on everyone,thanks for listening,God bless maybe say a prayer for all of us.

 

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Toni Augusta answered...

There are signs to tell you. Mottling (purplish blue patches) of the skin beginning from the feet moving upward, stopping of speech, stopping of eating, labored breathing. Hospice should be able to tell you, not exactly when, but you close and you can figure when the last intake of food and water was that you can't live a month without food and water. Speak to your mother with love. They think hearing is last to go.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Life and Death is in the hands of God! I have a grandma who had got dementia a little more than 3 years back. initially she could hear voices, see doubles when watching television and slowly she was not able to recognise her own children and even my mom who would take care of her only person she would recognise and talk nicely was with me, cause she was very close to me and would share with me everything. but that didnt last for long, a day came she was not able to recognise me too. i felt very sad. and worst of all she began to see illusions and would say that we are not her children or grandchildrens but someone else in our forms.. sometimes she would scream, or stay awake for hours standing and talking to illusionary someone (mostly God), with rosary in her hand or neck . but my mom was continuosly was taking care of her, cleaning her room ,give her home cooked food in time, medications, and even sometimes had to force her with the help of dad to the bathroom to giv her bath.. although mama was taking so much care of her, she was cursing and even abusing my mom unintentionally. but for few seconds or minutes when she would come back in her senses, she would talk normally as if nothing happened. she would go on and off like this for more than a year and half.... and after that she totally went off and was as if unknown to us... any of our frequent visit would irritate her, so when she is sleeping we would quitely skip in pray and come out.. we were told its incurable. and she would die, cause she began choking and could not take in even water, it would make some noise when she tried to drink, she was almost half paralysed. we began praying for her healing because deep in our heart we knew she had to forgive some people she hated specially her sons whom she loved but they rejected her in her oldage. we began offering her during the Eucharistic celebration and praying that atleast before she dies ,get her back into senses so that she may be able to forgive those who have hurt her and that she may die in grace. I praise God for answering our prayers...My granny started coming back to senses slowly nearly a year back -( going back into dementia on and off) now but for the last 3 months she is doing quite good and she recognises and talks normal inquiring regularly about us... and not only that she doesnt take any medications and perfectly healthy, first she had too many health issues- heart , pressure, acidity , etc.. eats healthy she is 87years old. my youngest baby who is 1yr2months keeps going to her room, joining her hands to take blessings from her.. grandma also loves her but only thing she cannot carry because her right hand is not working properly. everytime we go there to visit we go to take her blessings and she loves it. she even forgave her sons n their kids.do not get discouraged ... God works miracles trust in him!

 

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Cisco and Tonto answered...

My Mom died recently from Alzheimer's. She was eating less and getting weaker and sleeping more. But, she was fairly active until the very end. Mom was still able to get to the table for meals and she still interacted with the staff at the Alzheimer's care home. She died unexpectly early one Sundary morning.

Mom had been in hospice service since April 2011. The hospice nurse and doctor knew she was getting closer to dying but never could say how much longer.

I stopped wondering how much longer Mom would be alive. She looked like a death camp survivor from WWII. But, my husband and I were still able to have some wonderful times with Mom during her last few days. We saw Mom the day before she died and had a very good visit with her that I will always remember and smile about.

So, try to forget about how much longer it will take for your Mother to die. Concentrate more on the chances you have to still connect with her and add some more good memories. Plus, talk with the hospice nurse. The hospice team can give you a much better idea of how things are going than we can. Nancy

 

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jpreaves answered...

I'm back.............I want to add just a few words about when is she going to die. Answers were very good. From my experience I would add a comment or two. My Jan went to Hospice by the doctor's orders because she had stopped drinking and eating and was in a constant spell of some kind but recognized me by voice only because for some reason she appeared to be in a coma. However, it may have been the medication. When we got her settled in Hospice (wonderful place) I sat beside her and held her hand and I would every now and then tell her I loved her......she would squeeze my hand as if to say, I hear you and love you too. I know that is the last sense to leave the dying. The thing I want to respond to is how long it took Jan to die. She lasted 20 days from the day she arrived at Hospice. That wasn't a record though. At times they will send a patient back home....and then they can return later. We both had living wills so she had no tubes giving her nutrition or water. We would wet her lips and she liked that I think, but we let the dying process take it time. I quite often tell her that it was alright for her to let go........that I would be alright ....not to worry. Often something might keep them alive because of some unfinished situation in their past. In the end, they are right, we are all in little bits a little different and we die that way....differently. You can only benefit from this sharing with one another though. God Bless, Jean-Paul

 

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Legacygirl78 answered...

I was adopted from Korea to a Christian family. I am the youngest out of five children. Two brothers, born 1959,1962, two sisters 1964 and 1974, I was born 1978. All of us five are all grown and married, have children. 7 grandchildren. Born in years 1990, 1991,1992, 1992, 1995, 2005, 2010. One of the grand daughter is getting marry December 29 2012. All oldest grand daughters are in colleges. One want to be a doctor, other want to be a nurse. The only grand son is graduating high school next year 2013. My Dad was born, raise in Texas, married his future wife from Texas, they have their two oldest sons born in Texas. Moved to Seattle, have a daughter, then they adopted a girl from Korea, she four years older than me, then they adopted me. Dad was Pastor and teacher for years. He was diagnosed with dementia for years. My Mom and Dad's anniversary is August 4 1956. Since his dementia, he been living in adult care home since Thanksgiving. Recently he at ER for pneumonia. Since then he gotten weaker, skinny, having problem swallowing etc. He not responded like he used to. The only thing he does is look at you. There were times when I wish I was more nicer to him grown up as teenager, he and I do not always get along, we were too much alike, so we argue. I used to think he was the most annoying person but now I look back he really not that annoying as I thought he was. It so hard for all of us, we just lost my mom's oldest brother last year December 31 2011. Now our Dad is in his final stage of his life. He is a believer in Christ. People say that he looks so peaceful. I never lost a parent before, so this is all new to me. He was able to meet our daughter his youngest grand child part of her life. She was not able to see him recently she too young. So I made a short video of her talking to Grandpa on my phone. I played it by his ears hoping he hear his grand daughter for the last time before he goes. He touches lot of our lives, he a wonderful person. We will all miss him terribly. I told my Dad, I know you want to hang around for us, but please it times for you to go home with God, so you can get new body, it better for you than to suffer like this, I know we all miss you but you need to go, it okay to let go and go home. We will all see you someday. We all love you Dad.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Well, I am also feeling like when will my mom pass away. It is difficult because I feel she is suffering. She has been in a home since March last year, doesn't hardly eat or drink anything. Just power shake drinks. Can't walk, hardly talks, wasting away to hardly nothing. I know she is suffering, there is no facial expression and can't carry on a conversation. I'd like to spend as much time as possible, but honestly I feel she would be more at peace if she were to pass away in her sleep. I agree that it is difficult, but I know she is suffering, and it would be nice if she could rest again and not be stuck in this confused state. I want my mom back, but I know that isn't possible and it makes me sad that she has to spend so long like this. We treat our animals better than people. It is so sad and difficult and I wish my mom peace. I also feel that she is not ready to go and has some unfinished business, does anyone else feel this way. That the person with alzheimers goes when they are ready to go?

 

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Jasper61 answered...

My Mother just passed 10/06/13...Hospice came into her home to help her on her Journey to the Lord above, at times also for the last 7 years, I would ask myself how long can she live like this...Again focus on her life, at the end stage, my Mother only lasted 2 weeks. She began to not eat, not walk and was more distant. I thought this would go on for months, it was only a matter of weeks. So embrace this period, love them, hold their hand, talk to them, all they want is family to be near them. They want to know you love them and it is okay to go. LOVE THEM and Touch them, talk to them, that is all they are needing and wanting during these last days. LOVE. We also could not have done this with the HOSPICE ANGELS. My Mother was surrounded by her family telling her we loved her, it was okay to go, talking of childhood memories, all so peaceful. Beautiful and Peaceful. JUST LOVE THEM, that is all they want at the end :)

 

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redder answered...

Wow, all the responses are amazing, thanks everyone whomever posted and all the replies. My mom is also in last stages and I don't live close and have 2 young kids to care for. I feel I should go visit her, but no real reason to substantiate. She lives about 5-7 hour drive, over mostly mountains. I'm hoping she'll be around until November, as my kids have a school break and I can make it. I wish I could just enjoy spending time with her without having to worry, but every time I am there, I think it may be my last time to see her alive. Its so sad, and I wish her peace; I know she isn't ready to go yet, its like there is still something, someone, she needs to make better or talk to, or say goodbye. I wish you luck, and may you find spending time with her to support her while she is still with us. I tell my daughter who doesn't want to see 'Grandma in the home anymore'. As long as Grandma is still here, its always another day she has on earth, until she is ready to pass to the heavens above. She was always a feisty woman, strong willed and she is my inner strength. Although she can't talk or explain her feelings, I tell her all the good stories about the past. Motorbiking, Halloween, Christmas, all the good times. Best of wishes and peace to you all.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Dear Anonymous Caregiver, I don't know exactly when your question was asked, but that question is exactly what brought me to this page. Although I certainly talk to my Mother and reminisce about our families Blessed Life and how much I Love her etc. it is important, in my own opinion, to prepare myself for her passing so I'm not bombarded with details and the feeling that I didn't say everything that I wanted before she passed. I want to let her know that I will be o.k. And it's completely alright for her to want to "go" and be with Dad and my Brother (her husband and son) and all of her other family members who are in Heaven waiting for Her. I also make sure she knows that it's o.k. Also, because we will be together again when it's my time to join them in Heaven. I pray with her, laugh with her and cry with her, even if she doesn't respond back to me, even when she lashes out in anger and even though she may not know exactly who I am. My Mom started declining further because she's not eating well. I did some research and found out that Hospice would come on board even if she is not going to die any day. The are helping me with EVERYTHING at her Assisted Living Facility and Medicare pays for this Hospice Team, all of her personal care items and prescription medication that is being used for this specific condition and symptoms from the condition. There is VERY LITTLE help for the elderly and family out there, unless you know exactly where to go for resources. It's like these little "best kept secrets" that, for some odd reason, you have to learn how to jump through the correct hoops or find exactly the right search terms to find these "secrets"! Well, I could go on for days. Sorry so long. Basically just wanted to thank you for the question and those who answered. From one Family Caregiver to the others, God Bless!

 

RoxMB answered...

I also found this page wondering the same thing. My father suffered his first diagnosable stroke thanksgiving week 2013 and has deteriorated incredibly since. He is now home in hospice care and was just provided a 24 hour nurse because he hasn't eaten or drunk all day. (He is no longer walking, moving, continent, or verbal). In the last couple of hours he started having difficulty breathing and while his blood pressure is fine, his heart rate is elevated. I too wish I could know when he will die... partly because I feel that he will finally be at peace but mostly because I'm an eighteen hour drive away and can't be there to talk to him or hold his hand (which I want to be able to do before he passes). I know that I lost my father many months ago but it doesn't make losing him again any easier. I feel so alone and so sad. I'm his baby girl and it's devastating to me not to be at his side. I last saw him in early December and cherish those days with him but really wish I could be there now. Without knowing how long he has though it is difficult to plan. Thank you for all of your responses here. I know that I'm not alone.

 

Tap dance answered...

My mother in law is at end stage dementia. She had spells that we thought were the end. One in January, for 2 days, she was aching, not eating. Then in Feb, a TIA or mini stroke. Then about 8 days later really quit eating. Husband gives her Ensure and Small pb and j sandwiches. Sometimes applesauce.. She does not were he denture plate because she does not digest well. She weighs about 60 pounds. She is small, about 4'8 or 9 inches. But it's because she shrunk. She was never tall but now really small. Completely incontinent and sometimes her urine is dark, other times it's orange or at least dark. She has been like this now for about 3 weeks. I cannot understand how she maintains. Can't walk. Sleeps about 16 hours combining night and day. Maybe sometimes more. My husband is exhausted . He does most of the care. Praying for peace for her, him and me.

 

auburn14 answered...

I fully understand why you ask this question. My mother in law is in a nursing home with end stage dementia. She seems far more progressed than the other patients with the same thing where she is. Her husband died looking after her and then she had to go in somewhere and it is like she gave up then. She doesn't know anyone and spend a lot of time sleeping. Hardly eats and looks terrible. She is also cold in the hands. It seems harsh to wonder how long they can last but knowing her well I know she did not want to be like this. I feel she cannot last very long and it is very upseting every time I see her knowing who she was and then seeing how thin she is.

 

RoxMB answered...

I now know based on people's responses and my own experience that Alzheimer's drawn out and devastating end varies and is unpredictable. My father passed within 2 days of my posting my question. I was able to be at his side and hold his hand which have me peace and still gives me comfort two months later even of he had no idea who was there or even that his hand was being held. I do have to say that Vitas Hospice was spectacular. They were so supportive especially in those final hours and immediately afterwards. They gave us strength to get through an otherwise devastating experience and my father was afforded the little dignity that his awful disease allowed him. He died in his beloved home flanked by his wife of 58 years and his two daughters and we were able to stay by his side for as long as we needed. I wish all of you strength and a semblance of peace as you all deal with your own pain and tragedy.

 

Tap dance answered...

To the anonymous caregiver dated April 28, 2014. She sounds just like my mother in law. She has been on Hospice for over 2 years. Somedays we wonder how she stays alive. She is probably close to 60 pounds. Eats very small amounts and some Ensure but spouse does not want to give her too much Ensure because she cannot poop and will go for DAYS without a bm. She cannot walk, and is mostly catatonic. She looks like a skeleton with skin. She has lost 1/2 cm in a month. Husband is afraid it will be an ugly death because she will forget to eat and he will not do a feeding tube. Her quality of life is completely gone. I pray for her peace but wonder how Alz/Dementia people ever come to it with their brains in a loop. We keep thinking she is going to die soon, I mean how long can a person last like this? But this has been for over a month.. more like 7 or 8 weeks sustaining. Sometimes her urine in the diaper is orange, has been like this on and off for months. She is 92.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

When the person cannot swallow it is truly the end --then you need hospice as you need to help them pass away with some speed and dignity. Some of the suffering stories given here confirm that.

 

Windy Wan answered...

My father in law is at stage 6. He has depression, severe memory loss (couldn't rmmbr his son and daughter) and couldn't speak, sometimes might babble a word or 2. He can still walk (unsteadily), eat and dress with assistance, go toilet with assistance (he has forgotten how to flush, wipe, etc). He often talks to his imaginary friends and his mood swings is horrifying, he gets agitated very easily. I know there is no certain answer on how long it can last, but I can see the whole family is exhausted, especially the main care giver. I know it is cruel but I can see my mother in law is hoping for him to pass away soon. He's diagnosed with dementia 4 yrs ago and the illness progresses really fast. Can someone with experience enlighten me? Roughly how long it will last from now?

 

 
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