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.
Signs that the body is actively shutting down are:
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.
While the pre-active stage lasts for about three weeks, the active stage of dying lasts roughly three days. By definition, actively dying patients are very close to death, and exhibit many signs and symptoms of near-death.
End-of-Life Signs: The Final Days and Hours
Five Physical Signs that Death is Nearing
“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.
The kidneys often gradually stop producing urine as death nears. As a result, your urine will become dark brown or dark red. Also, the amount of urine produced by the kidneys decreases. As your appetite decreases, your bowel habits may also change.
But there is no certainty as to when or how it will happen. A conscious dying person can know if they are on the verge of dying. Some feel immense pain for hours before dying, while others die in seconds. This awareness of approaching death is most pronounced in people with terminal conditions such as cancer.
The final stage is acceptance. Kubler-Ross described this time period as a period of calm and peace. If the dying person was able to work through previous emotional stages, they may be at a point of reflectance and embrace the end of their battle.
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.
The pre-active phase of dying usually occurs two to three weeks prior to death. Pre-active phase of dying
How to tell if death is near
The book explored the experience of dying through interviews with terminally ill patients and described Five Stages of Dying: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance (DABDA).
If you stop eating and drinking, death can occur as early as a few days, though for most people, approximately ten days is the average. In rare instances, the process can take as long as several weeks.