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.
How Can I Stimulate Appetite in my Elderly Loved Ones?
Unfortunately, refusing to eat and/or a lack of appetite is a common aspect of dementia, which can be a great source of concern and frustration for caregivers. Forcing your loved one to eat is not an option, however, since they may choke or accidentally inhale food into their lungs.
What can cause poor appetite? Physical difficulties – such as problems with chewing and swallowing or constipation. Depression – loss of appetite can be a sign of depression. Depression is common in people with dementia.
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.
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.
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.
Experts suggest that signs of the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease include some of the following: Being unable to move around on one’s own. Being unable to speak or make oneself understood. Needing help with most, if not all, daily activities, such as eating and self-care. 4
In the final stage of dementia, signs such as swallowing problems, weight loss and muscle weakness indicate the general health of the person is failing. A person with end stage dementia may become uninterested in food and fluids at this time.
Elders tend not to want to drink much because it might mean more trips to the bathroom than they may want to make due to decreased mobility or the fear of falling on the way. Aging can also lead to a reduced sensation of thirst so that our senior loved ones do not feel the need to drink enough fluids.
9 tips to get seniors with no appetite to eat
Signs that the body is actively shutting down are:
Five Physical Signs that Death is Nearing
End-of-Life Signs: The Final Days and Hours