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End of life 
Started by Libbychicago
09 Aug 2015, 1:24 PM

My dad will be 90 years old this November, he's been in a nursing home for 5 months now. He got ill back in February and at first they sent him to the home just for rehab because he couldn't walk...well it's gone downhill and fast since then. Within a month and a half he went from just the beginning stages of dementia to a 9.5 out of 10. As of last Sunday, 2nd August, he has not had any food or water, he's been sleeping/unconscious the entire time. They had him on a shot that they thought was making him sleep but he's been off it for 48+ hours now and he can't wake up. The nursing home called my mom Saturday night because his hands had turned blue and he was cold to the touch but by the time we got there, he was fine. I know this is the end but I'm curious as to how long this poor man can survive without food and water! I'm not so worried about the food as I am the water and he's had none. He's so skinny, how much can his poor body take? I'm trying to find out for my mom, to give her some sort of anything to go by, she's just a wreck. Thanx to all who answer! 
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
09 Aug 2015, 6:52 PM

Hi Libby,

I'm so sorry to hear about your father, but glad that you found our forums to ask questions. It is a rough road. You are not alone.

Our team of palliative experts has written a library of articles that you may find useful. To answer some of your immediate questions about how long someone can go without food and water, and what to expect near the end, you could start with these:
Do you live near your parents or are you caregiving from a distance?
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Reply by NatR
14 Aug 2015, 5:34 PM

Hi Libby,

i am am so sorry to reas about your dad and the stress you are all going through.

its always more questions than answers.  I used to work in nursing homes and I know those who are at end of life can linger a while without any food or water.

whats really important is being with him, talking to him, holding his hand, playing music,..
please update us and welcome to the forum when you can ask and vent.  
Sending you warm wishes and a virtual hug.

natR 😔💓 
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Reply by Libbychicago
15 Aug 2015, 8:25 AM

Hello everyone, it is with a very heavy heart that I wanted to come here and let you both know that my dad passed away last Sunday morning. Last Saturday around 10pm my mum phoned because the nursing home said his time was coming soon and if she wanted to be there, she should come. When they checked on him that evening his breathing was shallow belly breathing and his fingers and toes were blue, however the entire 4 hours we were there, they weren't blue at all but he had that death rattle happening and the shallow belly breathing. It was heart wrenching to see my mom hold his hand and kiss him and tell him it's ok to go and that she loves him so very much. I told him my brother and I will take care of mum, just go on and be free. My son was with us as well, at 16, that son of mine has been an endless source of support and love for everyone and I could not be more proud. 
Sunday morning around 8:30am mum went to the home as she always did, thank god my brother was with her because when she walked into his room, he was gone. They'd just checked him not even an  hour before that and he had still been alive so it was absolutely not neglect, the home he was in was absolutely excellent except for a few bumps but that's to be expected I suppose.
So he passed in his sleep, not in any pain and peacefully as he so richly deserved. The services were this past Thursday and now we go on. Of course taking care of my mum is of utmost importance now, keeping her going. She'd moved back home with my brother so I know she's not alone and that is a huge relief. He's taking very good care of her. He's a workaholic but took this entire week off.
Anyway I'm glad I found this forum, it felt good just to get some things out in my first post. I'm grateful that he did not linger very long at all and that his suffering is over however he's left a big hole in our world that nobody could ever fill. Thank you again. 
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Reply by NatR
15 Aug 2015, 11:28 PM

Dear LibbyChicago,

I am sorry to hear about your Dad passing.  It sounds like the end was peaceful with you all gathered around.  Yes, it is hard to always be there for every single minute...no matter how watchful you try to be.

You can continue to post messages here for the readers of the forum if you want or need to.
Glad that the website was of help to you when you needed it.
Sending you my thoughts and best wishes,
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Reply by KathCull_admin
08 Sep 2015, 9:52 PM

Thinking about you and your family as you grieve your father, husband and grandfather. A friend sent this my way - as words that had given her comfort. Take care, Libbychicago.


“What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.”

― William Wordsworth 

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Reply by ProCare Hospice
22 Nov 2015, 10:40 PM

This is heartbreaking, I can understand how difficult that was. Toward the end of my faters life he wasn't able to consume much and he looked like a skeleton. I am proud of you for doing your best and caring so much up to the end. It's an admirable quality.

Procare hospice Nevada 
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