What are the signs that someone is close to death?

Knowing death may be near is often difficult to deal with or comprehend. Signs a person is close to dying include decreased appetite, vital sign changes, weakness, and increased sleeping.

This article explores 11 signs that death is approaching. It goes on to look at the signs that indicate a person has died and discusses how to cope with the death of a loved one.

When a person is terminally ill, they may be in hospital or receiving palliative care. It is important for their loved ones to recognize the signs that death may be near. These signs are explored below.

Decreasing appetite
As a person approaches death, they become less active. This means their body needs less energy. They may stop eating or drinking as much as their appetite gradually reduces.

A person may completely stop eating before they die. When this happens, it helps to keep their lips moistened with lip balm so that they are not uncomfortable.

Sleeping more
In the time before a person dies, they may spend less time awake.

If a person is caring for a dying loved one who is sleepy, they should make them comfortable and let them sleep. Caregivers should help the person change position in bed every 1–2 hoursTrusted Source. Hearing is often the last sense that a person loses, so continuing to speak to them in a calm, quiet voice can provide reassurance.

Changing toilet habits
Because a dying person is eating and drinking less, their bowel movements may reduce. They may pass solid waste less often. They may also urinate less frequently. If a person loses control of urination, speaking to the hospital about a catheter for the person may help.

These changes can be distressing to witness in a loved one, but they are to be expected.

Weakening muscles
In the days leading up to a person’s death, their muscles may become weak.

Weak muscles mean the individual may not be able to carry out the small tasks that they were able to previously. Drinking from a cup or turning over in bed may no longer be tasks they can do.

If this happens to a dying person, their loved ones should help them lift things or turn over in bed.

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