Reduced appetite A reduction in appetite is one sign that someone may be in the last days of their life. They may no longer wish to eat or drink anything. This could be because they find the effort of eating or drinking to be too much. But it may also be because they have little or no need or desire for food or drink.
6 ways to get seniors with no appetite to eat
Some common reasons the elderly doesn’t want to eat is that their ability to smell and taste has decreased. In addition, elderly not eating can be due to medications they are taking or even oral health issues. Some older adults have difficulty chewing due to issues with their dentures or teeth and gums.
The physiological changes that occur with ageing that can impair appetite include changes to the digestive system, hormonal changes, disease, pain, changes to the sense of smell, taste and vision and a decreased need for energy. Changes to the digestive system can contribute to declining appetite.
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.
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.
Elderly dietary problems can be caused by a number of different factors: lack of interest in food due to changing taste buds, depression, or loneliness; lack of energy to cook; loss of appetite due to health conditions; and medication side effects, to name just a few.
Signs that the body is actively shutting down are:
Five Physical Signs that Death is Nearing
What are the symptoms of active dying?