10 Signs Death Is Near

What to expect and how to respond to the natural dying process
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No one can predict the moment of death. But physicians and nurses involved in end-of-life care know that certain symptoms are usually associated with the body's shutting down. These signs of approaching death are specific to the natural dying process (apart from the effects of particular illnesses the person may have).

Not all dying symptoms show up in every person, but most people experience some combination of the following in the final days or hours:

1. Loss of appetite

Energy needs decline. The person may begin to resist or refuse meals and liquids, or accept only small amounts of bland foods (such as hot cereals). Meat, which is hard to digest, may be refused first. Even favorite foods hold little appeal.

Near the very end of life, the dying person may be physically unable to swallow.

How to respond: Don't force-feed; follow the person's cues even though you may be distressed by a loss of interest in eating. Periodically offer ice chips, a popsicle, or sips of water. Use a moistened warm cloth around the mouth and apply balm to the lips to keep them moist and comfortable.


about 15 hours ago, said...

thank you so much for your prayer and for that response. As a Navajo, i woke up early before the sunrise, as my mother taught me, to pray and offer up the day to our Lord. Today is a good day for her! I just called and talked to my mom and she is excited that today is Ash Wednesday :) i know there will be good days (like today) and tough days, I know when she is gone, I will feel no guilt because I so all i can for her. Her doctor friend told me that doctor's cannot predict but to cherish... Show more thank you so much for your prayer and for that response. As a Navajo, i woke up early before the sunrise, as my mother taught me, to pray and offer up the day to our Lord. Today is a good day for her! I just called and talked to my mom and she is excited that today is Ash Wednesday :) i know there will be good days (like today) and tough days, I know when she is gone, I will feel no guilt because I so all i can for her. Her doctor friend told me that doctor's cannot predict but to cherish every day and I and I am blessed with this. One day at a time with God. Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Hide


about 16 hours ago, said...

I wished I had taken the family leave of absence sooner so I could have been there for my mother. I wished I had taken the family leave of absence sooner so I could have been there for my mother. Hide


about 16 hours ago, said...

Antonita, a prayer for you. I wished I had something like this when my mother died. I found a pamphlet hospice had left for us that told us what to expect after she was gone. I also found out that she was scared to die. I wish I had known that. I would have held her and held her to help her through. Just by being there, you can give her the greatest gift, like you did for your dad. I hope it works out. We can't control these things but if we pause and do the best we can, we can live... Show more Antonita, a prayer for you. I wished I had something like this when my mother died. I found a pamphlet hospice had left for us that told us what to expect after she was gone. I also found out that she was scared to die. I wish I had known that. I would have held her and held her to help her through. Just by being there, you can give her the greatest gift, like you did for your dad. I hope it works out. We can't control these things but if we pause and do the best we can, we can live guilt free. It's a gift. Hide


about 17 hours ago, said...

this is an amazing web page. I stumbled upon it while looking for answers. My beautiful mother is 82 and in a nursing home. Thank God I’m only 10 minutes away and I visit her everyday after work. I am the only daughter and my father passed on in 2010. Mom has had RA for a long time and that has led to a lot of health issues. I met with her doctor on Monday 2/8/16 and I asked him how long does she really have. He was very straight with me, said she is unraveling and she may weeks to months,... Show more this is an amazing web page. I stumbled upon it while looking for answers. My beautiful mother is 82 and in a nursing home. Thank God I’m only 10 minutes away and I visit her everyday after work. I am the only daughter and my father passed on in 2010. Mom has had RA for a long time and that has led to a lot of health issues. I met with her doctor on Monday 2/8/16 and I asked him how long does she really have. He was very straight with me, said she is unraveling and she may weeks to months, not years, to live. This was a very hard to hear. She is starting to show some of these signs...since Jan. 2016 she's been in the hospital 3 times. Low blood pressure, low sodium.....like the article said, mom has been sleeping a lot more now, she eats very little. I call every morning to check on her and this morning 2-10/16, the nurse reported to me that mom didn't have a good night. She was up crying and saying she was afraid to die. It's the first time I or the nurses ever heard her say this. This breaks my heart. I don't want my mom to die but I do pray I will be with her when she does. I was with my father when he walked on, that was very very sad but beautiful. He was there for my first breath of life and I was there for his last. I pray to God he will give me that gift with my mother when the time comes. I pray for all who are dying, who are scared like me, lost, grieving or needing peace. Hide


3 days ago, said...

My mom, who is 93 and in hospice care has been extending her hands upward at times as if she is reaching for someones hands, She has been having conversations with deceased siblings for a while now but lately she has been laughing a lot at unheard conversations. Am I imagining these as signs? My mom, who is 93 and in hospice care has been extending her hands upward at times as if she is reaching for someones hands, She has been having conversations with deceased siblings for a while now but lately she has been laughing a lot at unheard conversations. Am I imagining these as signs? Hide


10 days ago, said...

what if a person says that ,When he closes his eyes he sees people he knows and people he has meet walking around talking,but when he opens his eyes their gone. what if a person says that ,When he closes his eyes he sees people he knows and people he has meet walking around talking,but when he opens his eyes their gone. Hide


14 days ago, said...

What about when their eyes start to alwaysvtoll back in their head? Is it just no muscle control What about when their eyes start to alwaysvtoll back in their head? Is it just no muscle control Hide


22 days ago, said...

Very informative article for any common person. We live in South India. My mother-in-law is now 93 years old. she talks to the persons in the room who are not visible to us. She at times narrates the happenings when she is sitting and talking to us casually, in a dramatic way. Her legs/knees are swollen. Even though her intake is reduced a little , she takes solid food on her own, as she used to do earlier. She is handicapped and bedridden for nearly a decade. I am the only person fully... Show more Very informative article for any common person. We live in South India. My mother-in-law is now 93 years old. she talks to the persons in the room who are not visible to us. She at times narrates the happenings when she is sitting and talking to us casually, in a dramatic way. Her legs/knees are swollen. Even though her intake is reduced a little , she takes solid food on her own, as she used to do earlier. She is handicapped and bedridden for nearly a decade. I am the only person fully taking care of her every day and night for the past sixteen years. She is totally bed ridden now for the past six months. Pl. pray for her healthy recovery or for peaceful death. Hide


27 days ago, said...

I never knew there were steps until I noticed my Husband was talking to some one that wasn't visible to me in the hospital room. He was so convincing, it was spooky. My mom went through all the signs like I expected her to. She passes away in peace alone in the nursing home. No more pain, crying and no more dying Thank God. Though it hurts me to see her go I am relieved. I never knew there were steps until I noticed my Husband was talking to some one that wasn't visible to me in the hospital room. He was so convincing, it was spooky. My mom went through all the signs like I expected her to. She passes away in peace alone in the nursing home. No more pain, crying and no more dying Thank God. Though it hurts me to see her go I am relieved. Hide


about 1 month ago, said...

My mom seems to barley be breathing I so just want to pick her up and hug her My mom seems to barley be breathing I so just want to pick her up and hug her Hide


about 1 month ago, said...

how long da a person live with pancreas cancer after chemo and raditation his been done how long da a person live with pancreas cancer after chemo and raditation his been done Hide


about 1 month ago, said...

It is really true. I have seen my grandfather undergo this process before he passed away. No appetite,difficult to drink,blurred speech and etc. One fine morning, he left us for good. It is really true. I have seen my grandfather undergo this process before he passed away. No appetite,difficult to drink,blurred speech and etc. One fine morning, he left us for good. Hide


about 1 month ago, said...

I know my life will end very soon God. I pray that when and if you take me soon I go to heaven and have a new life. Please keep my family calm and safe as this is happening. Amen I know my life will end very soon God. I pray that when and if you take me soon I go to heaven and have a new life. Please keep my family calm and safe as this is happening. Amen Hide


about 1 month ago, said...

My mom got a cervical cancer she not eating and her feet is sore and leaking water she always sleeping it is the sign of death My mom got a cervical cancer she not eating and her feet is sore and leaking water she always sleeping it is the sign of death Hide


about 1 month ago, said...

what does it mean when someone is like a sleep but a wake with like a foogy look in there eye but they snap out of it ??? what does it mean when someone is like a sleep but a wake with like a foogy look in there eye but they snap out of it ??? Hide


about 1 month ago, said...

My dad is dying. Sleeping most of the day not eating. I know he is trying to hang on until siblings get here. He is not my worry. My mom is. Healthy (ish) but she doesn't do alone well. But she us also not a person who will go out and be social. I can spend a little more time with her but I do work and have my own responsibilities. I am the only local relative. My dad is dying. Sleeping most of the day not eating. I know he is trying to hang on until siblings get here. He is not my worry. My mom is. Healthy (ish) but she doesn't do alone well. But she us also not a person who will go out and be social. I can spend a little more time with her but I do work and have my own responsibilities. I am the only local relative. Hide


about 1 month ago, said...

Katherine, I am a medical social worker working with an in home health care agency, I do work in California, However it should be the same that your part d should cover your drugs, MD visits etc. Your state should have a home health agency also, you will need a doctors referral to home health. They would have social workers to help you as you are homebound and home health is covered 100% by medicare. Good luck Katherine, I am a medical social worker working with an in home health care agency, I do work in California, However it should be the same that your part d should cover your drugs, MD visits etc. Your state should have a home health agency also, you will need a doctors referral to home health. They would have social workers to help you as you are homebound and home health is covered 100% by medicare. Good luck Hide


2 months ago, said...

This was exactly how it happened in my Grandmother's case... Although I still find it hard to believe but I can notice it in Gramps as well now... Looks like he's dying... Its really sad to think about your beloved dying sort of, I mean the feeling hurts... I think I've just got to make him happy and keep hoping it doesn't happen too soon... All the same Thanks for this! ... Show more This was exactly how it happened in my Grandmother's case... Although I still find it hard to believe but I can notice it in Gramps as well now... Looks like he's dying... Its really sad to think about your beloved dying sort of, I mean the feeling hurts... I think I've just got to make him happy and keep hoping it doesn't happen too soon... All the same Thanks for this! ... Hide


2 months ago, said...

My mother is 86, according to what I have read now she is dying. She is not eating and take in very little water or maybe 100ml of soup. She Urinate about 3 times a day and it is a rusty colour. She had bowel movement (splash0 yellow a week ago and today she had a splash again (a lot) but a brownish coulour. Is this also a sign of near death. She asked me earlier today what are we going to do with her furniture and clothing, although she has no furniture as she is staying with me. She... Show more My mother is 86, according to what I have read now she is dying. She is not eating and take in very little water or maybe 100ml of soup. She Urinate about 3 times a day and it is a rusty colour. She had bowel movement (splash0 yellow a week ago and today she had a splash again (a lot) but a brownish coulour. Is this also a sign of near death. She asked me earlier today what are we going to do with her furniture and clothing, although she has no furniture as she is staying with me. She also wanted to go visit someone with us. And she talks a lot about people in her room that I cannot see. Hide