According to one article, those on their deathbeds can survive between 10 and 14 days without food and water. Some longer periods of survival have been noted, but are less common. Keep in mind that people who are bedridden aren’t using much energy. A person who is healthy and mobile would likely perish much sooner.
If you stop eating and drinking, death can occur as early as a few days, though for most people, approximately ten days is the norm. In rare instances, the process can take as long as several weeks.
If a person stops eating or drinking because of their reduced appetite, this may be hard to accept, but it is a normal part of the dying process. If they stop drinking, their mouth may look dry, but this does not always mean they are dehydrated. It is normal for all dying people eventually to stop eating and drinking.
What are the symptoms of active dying?
Approximately one to three months prior to passing the patient will eat less and finally cease to eat just days before death. In most hospices, when a patient begins to eat less, it is a first sign that the transition phase is really getting underway.
Five Physical Signs that Death is Nearing
An article in Archiv Fur Kriminologie states the body can survive for 8 to 21 days without food and water and up to two months if there’s access to an adequate water intake. Modern-day hunger strikes have provided insight into starvation.
Pulse and heartbeat are irregular or hard to feel or hear. Body temperature drops. Skin on their knees, feet, and hands turns a mottled bluish-purple (often in the last 24 hours) Breathing is interrupted by gasping and slows until it stops entirely.
The end-of-life period—when body systems shut down and death is imminent—typically lasts from a matter of days to a couple of weeks. Some patients die gently and tranquilly, while others seem to fight the inevitable. Reassuring your loved one it is okay to die can help both of you through this process.
Water recommendations. While the eight glasses rule is a good start, it isn’t based on solid, well-researched information. Your body weight is made up of 60 percent water. Every system in your body needs water to function.
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” However, there are actually seven stages that comprise the grieving process: shock and disbelief, denial, pain, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance/hope.
What happens when someone dies? In time, the heart stops and they stop breathing. Within a few minutes, their brain stops functioning entirely and their skin starts to cool. At this point, they have died.
In the last hours before dying a person may become very alert or active. This may be followed by a time of being unresponsive. You may see blotchiness and feel cooling of the arms and legs. Their eyes will often be open and not blinking.
When someone is no longer taking in any fluid, and if he or she is bedridden (and so needs little fluid) then this person may live as little as a few days or as long as a couple of weeks. In the normal dying process people lose their sense of hunger or thirst.
This stage often includes confusion, restlessness, and swollen extremities. It’s not uncommon for someone to make comments about taking care of loose ends or even to explicitly announce they are dying. This stage of the active dying process may last up to three weeks.
When a person enters the final stages of dying it affects their body and mind. When a person’s body is ready and wanting to stop, but the person is not finished with some important issue, or with some significant relationship, he/she may tend to linger in order to finish whatever needs finishing.