How Do You Know When Death Is Hours Away?

How Do You Know When Death Is Hours Away?

If you have a loved one under hospice care or will go, then you may have only a few months or even a few weeks with him. During this period, you may notice exhibit changes in their behavior, mood, diet, and much more. However, unfortunately, many people are not prepared to take adequate care of their loved ones because they don’t know what to expect or what will happen during the dying process.

Death is something no one can escape, but the dying process is shrouded in mystery for many people. Saying goodbye to loved ones can be hard. However, by knowing the dying process, it will become a lot more comfortable for you to take care of them during their last stage.

Knowing about the symptoms or signs will help you say goodbye in the best way possible and will also help to cope with the aftermath of your loss. To understand the process better here in the article, we have provided you with the symptoms and signs that show death is near and have answered various questions commonly asked about death.

What Are the Signs When Someone Is Dying Actively?

Here are some of the signs and symptoms that will help you know when your loved one is dying actively-

1.         You can feel the Coolness of hands, legs, feet, and arm

2.         The confusion resulting in your loved one not being aware of the time or place or might not be able to identify the people around them.

3.         Restlessness

4.         Urine decrease

5.         Incontinence

6.         Sleeping

7.         Congestion

8.         Fluid and food decrease

Additional Signs-

1.         Weakening muscles

2.         Changing vital signs

3.         Becoming less social


How Long Does The Active Stage of Dying Last?

This is the most common question that comes to mind when hearing about your loved one’s active dying. You would want to know how much time you are left with your loved one.

There are two phases of active dying before the actual time of death- The first one is the pre-active phase of dying, and the second is the active phase of dying. The early stage, on average, lasts approximately two weeks, while the second stage lasts about three days.

How to Tell if Death Is Near?

By looking at signs and symptoms, one can easily state if the person’s death is near. Here are some of those that indicate the end of the person is near-

1.         Eyes tear or glaze over

2.         Body temperature drops suddenly

3.         and heartbeat of the patient is irregular or hard to feel or hear

4.         The skin on the knees, hands, and feet turns a mottled bluish-purple (this shows the person has maximum 24 hours)

5.         Breathing is interrupted by gasping which is stopped only when it stops entirely

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about death that might help you clear your mind.

The Stages of Dying

Pre-Active Phase of Dying

  • Timing and Duration: This phase typically begins weeks before death. It’s a time when those who are dying start to withdraw from the world around them.
  • Physical Signs: You might notice increased sleep, reduced appetite for food and drink, and more frequent moments of confusion or disorientation.
  • Emotional Signs: There might be a noticeable shift in mood or desire for less social interaction as the person begins to internally prepare for their passing.

Active Phase of Dying

  • Timing and Duration: This phase generally lasts about three days and is closer to the actual time of death.
  • Physical Signs: The signs include a significant drop in blood pressure, changes in breathing patterns such as shallow or irregular breathing, and changes in skin color, especially in the hands, feet, and face which might look bluish or pale.
  • Emotional and Mental Signs: Consciousness may decrease, and the person might not respond to voice or touch. They may also have periods where they seem to rally and be unusually coherent, followed by more confusion or unresponsiveness.

Understanding These Stages

  • Guidance for Caregivers: Recognizing these stages can help caregivers provide the right support and comfort. For instance, knowing when to focus on creating a calm environment versus trying to engage in conversation.
  • Preparing Emotionally: Understanding these phases can also prepare family and friends emotionally, helping them grasp the natural progression towards the end of life.

What Are the Spiritual Signs that Show Death Is Near?

In the last stage, the dying person shows some signs with which it can be concluded that his death is near. Here are some of those-

1.  Giving away belongings and making plans for a funeral

Some people like to maintain control over their lives, so when death approaches them, they want to make the final decision about their belongings or funeral.

How to help- It will be emotionally hard for the family to talk about the person’s final arrangements, but you must let your loved one do this as they want. They would appreciate it if their choices have been honored.

2.  Withdrawal

The person may start to be unresponsive or withdrawn like he is in a comatose state. This shows that they are detaching and this is considered as the typical end-of-life symptoms.

How to help- You must know that hearing remains. So, you need to speak in a normal voice. Identify yourself, the holder’s hand, and say what you want. This will help them let go.

3.  Vision like experience

The person during their last stage usually says that they are spoken to persons who are already deceased. They might experience places or see things that are not visible to you. Keep in mind they are not hallucinations or drug reactions but are common signs of nearing death.

How to help– Do not contradict, explain them, and ease out their experience. If you see that the experience is frightening, then reassure your loved one that it is conventional and natural.

4.  Restlessness

Repetitive or restless tasks show that your loved one has something left or some unfinished task that is preventing them from letting go.

How to help- Talk with them and help them recall their favorite place or a pleasant experience. Try to bring them at is by reading to them or playing soothing music.

5.  Saying goodbye

This is their final moment.

How to help- Hold their hand and say whatever you need to say. It can be just I love you or recounting your favorite memories with them. Don’t hold back your tears as they express your love and help your loved one let go.

Frequently Asked Question

Q1.  Is ascites a sign of death?

Ans. Ascites may result in liver diseases, cirrhosis, and even death. However, it can be treated under the guidance of a good doctor.

Q2. Is coughing up blood a sign of death?

Ans. Coughing of blood can be an emergency. If a person coughs up more than one teaspoon of blood, then it is a medical emergency. While coughing up 100 cubic centimeters of blood is massive hemoptysis and has a mortality or death rate of over 50%.

Q3. Can you smell blood before the person dies?

Ans. The shutdown of the body system of the dying person and the changes of the metabolism from the breath, skin, and body fluids create a distinctive acetone order similar to the smell of nail polish remover. If the person’s debt has occurred from bowel or stomach cancer, then this can sometimes be unpleasant and pungent.

Q4. How long after a person stops eating before death occurs?

Ans. Once the person stops eating and drinking; his death will occur within two weeks

Q5. What does death smell like?

Ans. Once the person dies, the body immediately begins to decompose and the smell of death spreads. The body starts to smell due to various gases created by microorganisms during decomposition.

Additionally, to the extremely unpleasant odor, the body decomposition fluids can permeate porous material resulting in a smell that can’t be removed by ordinary cleaning methods.

Q6. Is the time of death of a person already decided?

Ans. Determining the time of death of a person requires both art and science, where the medical examiner uses several techniques and observations to make the estimate. There is no particular factor that can accurately determine the time of physiological death. It is always the guess, but with the proper application of principles, the medical examiner can estimate death’s physiological time with some degree of accuracy.

Q7. What does mottling mean when someone is dying?

Ans. Mottling usually begins from the feet and then travels of the legs. Mottling of the skin occurs before death, which is generally during the final week of life. It is caused by the incapability of the heart to pump blood effectively. The process results in a drop in blood pressure causing extremities to feel cool to the touch.

Shashank Avatar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Liyana Parker

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.