Whether you’re a caregiver or dealing with a loved one approaching the end of their life, death is never easy. Looking out for common signs of death in elderly people can help you make adjustments that will help add some comfort to their lives. This post looks at eight potential signs of death in elderly people that you should keep in mind when caring for a loved one.
1. Shortness Of Breath
Shortness of breath is one of the common signs of death in elderly people. Shortness of breath is often linked with anxiety as a person approaches the end of their life. Deep breathing exercises, physical activity, and relaxation techniques can help you overcome this symptom. If your shortness of breath is severe, you may require oxygen and doctor-prescribed medications.
Simply having someone to talk to can also help relieve anxiety associated with health or approaching the end of life. This is one of the most common signs of death in the elderly, which can make everyday activities more difficult than usual.
2. Decreased Appetite
As the body begins to shut down, decreased appetite is a common symptom. A reduced sense of thirst and desire to eat are usually associated with the body no longer needing calories for energy. If you have a loved one who no longer has an appetite, try not to force them to eat. Forcing a person to eat can prolong the dying process, which only makes things more miserable and frustrating.
Don’t concern yourself too much about the nutritional value of food if you have a loved one approaching the end of their life. If all they want is chocolate, then let them have it without making a big deal about eating healthy foods.
Restlessness and agitation are two more common signs of death in elderly people. Usually, restlessness is caused by decreased oxygen levels in the brain and can be exacerbated by certain medications. Some people may even report feeling confused and angry, in addition to their restlessness. If you know someone who is experiencing delirium or hallucinations, make sure you contact your healthcare provider.
Restlessness while trying to sleep can eventually develop into more serious symptoms that can impact their overall quality of life. Other related symptoms to look out for include impaired short term memory, time and place disorientation and dramatic mood swings.
Constipation is another common and uncomfortable sign of death in the elderly. Usually, constipation is the result of an illness, surgery, or just being too weak to use the bathroom. Constipation at the end of the life can apply to both urinary and bowel incontinence. You can try natural remedies such as ginger and probiotics to ease the discomfort of being constipated.
5. Increased Desire To Sleep
Feeling the desire to sleep more than usual is another one of the more common signs of death in elderly people. As the body begins to age and nears closer to death, your metabolism begins to shut down and fail. Feeling the desire to sleep more is also closely connected with decreased appetite, which we discussed early in this post.
Our bodies need a steady supply of energy which comes from calories in our diet. Without this steady supply of calories, fatigue and tiredness tend to become dominant feelings. Many retirement homes will provide a steady and healthy diet for the elderly, ensuring that the proper nutrients are consumed with each meal.
6. Random Pains
Random aches and pains are another common sign of death approaching in the elderly. Most of the time, the intensity of the pain continues to increase as the person nears closer to death. It’s not uncommon for you to see visible signs of pains such as wincing, groaning or scowling in your loved one. Severe pain usually requires hospitalization and is commonly related to an illness or diseases.
7. Low Body Temperature
As the body begins to near death, blood circulation begins to fail. Your body recognizes its weakened state and encourages circulation to take place only in your vital organs. This causes your hands, feet, and legs to become cold to the touch and even have a pale appearance. In extreme cases, the skin may take on a blue-purple shade.
8. Weak Muscles
Muscle fatigue is a very common sign that death is approaching. Even simple tasks like lifting a glass of water or getting up to use the washroom can become difficult and unbearable. The best thing you can do in this situation is to make your loved one as comfortable as possible. Serve their drinks with straws, so that’s easy for them to drink without having to lift anything.
You may need to assist your loved one with things like turning over in bed so that they can find a comfortable position. Don’t hesitate to ask a nurse to help you with this as they have the training to gently move your loved one without injuring their body.