During the later stages of life, someone with Dementia can display symptoms of death, but these can last months. This period of time is very upsetting and a time of uncertainty, as it is difficult to know when a person with dementia is coming to the end of their life.
However, there are some symptoms that may indicate the person is at the end of their life including:
- Limited speech (single words or phrases)
- Needing help with everyday activities
- Eating less and swallowing difficulties
- Incontinence and becoming bed bound
A person is likely to be nearing the end of their life when these symptoms are combined with frailty, recurrent infections and/or pressure ulcers.
When a person gets to within a few days or hours of dying, these symptoms are also common:
- deteriorating more quickly
- loss of consciousness
- inability to swallow
- becoming agitated or restless
- irregular breathing
- cold hands and feet
These are all part of the dying process and it’s important to be aware of them so that you can help your loved ones understand what is happening.
Knowing your loved one will make it easier for you to deliver person-centred care. You will be able to cater for their likes and dislikes, while also being able to focus on what they need and require. If your loved one is unable to communicate with you, speak to the wider family, friends or Power of Attorney for health and wellbeing.