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Grandad hasn’t eaten in over 10 days. Also not drinking. How long do we have left with him?

MeganJackson

New member
Feb 21, 2022
7
0
This is my first post here on the forum.
I am wanting some general advice and peoples experiences.
My grandad is in his late stages of dementia. He’s currently in a care home. He has been bed bound now for almost 3 weeks. He’s on roughly day 10 of no food (it could be longer) he also hasn’t drank any fluids for 4-5 days. They are swabbing his lips with a sponge for moisture. He has lost all his ability to swallow. He is asleep pretty much all the time now apart from the few seconds that he opens his eyes. We are lucky that we get to go and see him due to some covid restrictions still in place. My question is how long do we have left with him? When I see him and he looks at me, he cries and that breaks me heart because I think he knows who I am but I can’t be sure. He knows who my grandma is and it’s so hard leaving him. We’ve been told that we are waiting for his breathing to change so we know it’s coming to an end but I am constantly worrying. How have people managed with this? He also has a rare kidney disease and they are barely functioning. I am absolutely terrified everytime my phone rings. My grandad has been my absolute life and before Christmas last year he could still speak. He caught covid about a month ago once he went into the care home and it’s taken a downward toll since then.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks, Megan
 

CAL Y

Registered User
Jul 17, 2021
305
0
@MeganJackson . You poor thing. I’m so sorry that you are going through this.
If you have been told that they are waiting for your Grandad‘s breathing to change then I’m afraid that he is very near the end.
When the breathing changes there is little time left and you have to accept that this is best for him and all the rest of your family.
Try to see him as much as you are able.
As you are the granddaughter, I’m assuming that you are relatively young.
Its a hard thing to deal with. Many of us on this page are a lot older and probably didn’t have the same relationship with grandparents as you have.
Its not easy,I realise but you have to try to be strong and remember the good times you have had with your grandad.
Wishing you love and strength.x
 

MeganJackson

New member
Feb 21, 2022
7
0
Thank you @CAL Y
I am only 25, I have dealt with loss before but never to someone this close 🥺
My grandad practically brought me up with my grandma. I am trying to go everyday or every other day with my grandma so she isn’t alone.
I feel like I’m already grieving his loss and he hasn’t gone yet! I know he’s still in there, it just breaks my heart everytime I leave him x
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
76,074
0
Kent
Hello @MeganJackson I'm sorry to welcome you at such a sad time.

It does sound as if your grandad is coming to the end of his life but no one will be able to tell you how long he will be able to live like this.

If he cries when he sees you he must know you are someone special even if he can't identify you by name.

Of course it is heartbreaking for you but all you can do is sit with him and hold his hand to help him know he is not alone.

Make sure those who are caring for him keep him pain free and comfortable.
 

Wildflowerlady

Registered User
Sep 30, 2019
939
0
Hello @MeganJackson I'm sorry your grandad has reached this stage its so very difficult to see someone go through this very last part. My dad passed in January last year and it seems that we have a very similar story in that my dad went into a care home and he did pass fairly soon after. Dad also caught covid but it was his advanced dementia that was responsible for his passing. I was told exactly the same that they were waiting for dads breathing to change. I think if your Grandad has gone for 10 days without eating or drinking his passing is quite near. My dad did go on for longer than we expected so you may still be looking at a few more days. I can only say do what you can and what you feel comfortable with regarding your visits. It will help you in those first few days after he has passed.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,483
0
South coast
Im so sorry @MeganJackson
This stage when you are living in limbo is very difficult. The waiting and dreading is so hard.
My mum went for 17 days with absolutely no food or fluid and I didnt know how she managed it. You are right that they are waiting for the breathing to change - they get gaps in their breathing (called Chayne Stokes breathing), which sounds awful, but does not distress the person. Mum had this for 3 days, but it can be as little as a few hours. There are other physical changes that will happen before the end too - the limbs grow cold and the skin mottles. Mums eyes became cloudy too, which for some reason I found the most upsetting.

Hearing is the last thing to go, so even if he appears unresponsive, he will still be able to hear. So talk to him, read to him, play his favourite music.
Make sure you say the important things to him - I love you, thank you, Im sorry and reassure him that you will be all right and its OK for him to go.

Mum died pre-covid, so I dont know what care you are allowed to do now. I was allowed to comb mums hair, give the mouth care with the little sponges, put salve on her lips and moisturiser on her dry skin, but I dont know if you would be allowed to now (or even if you would want to), but Im sure you would be allowed to hold his hand.

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
 

MeganJackson

New member
Feb 21, 2022
7
0
Thank you. I’m holding on to those emotions he’s showing as it makes me feel that he knows he isn’t alone.
Thank you for your kind words.
Hello @MeganJackson I'm sorry to welcome you at such a sad time.

It does sound as if your grandad is coming to the end of his life but no one will be able to tell you how long he will be able to live like this.

If he cries when he sees you he must know you are someone special even if he can't identify you by name.

Of course it is heartbreaking for you but all you can do is sit with him and hold his hand to help him know he is not alone.

Make sure those who are caring for him keep him pain free and comfortable
 

MeganJackson

New member
Feb 21, 2022
7
0
Hello @MeganJackson I'm sorry your grandad has reached this stage its so very difficult to see someone go through this very last part. My dad passed in January last year and it seems that we have a very similar story in that my dad went into a care home and he did pass fairly soon after. Dad also caught covid but it was his advanced dementia that was responsible for his passing. I was told exactly the same that they were waiting for dads breathing to change. I think if your Grandad has gone for 10 days without eating or drinking his passing is quite near. My dad did go on for longer than we expected so you may still be looking at a few more days. I can only say do what you can and what you feel comfortable with regarding your visits. It will help you in those first few days after he has passed.
Thank you for your reply. I’m trying to go as much as I can. It’s very hard to leave him though. I sit there and hold his hand and he squeezes it so he must know I’m there, as he’s asleep most of the time.
Thank you
 

MeganJackson

New member
Feb 21, 2022
7
0
Im so sorry @MeganJackson
This stage when you are living in limbo is very difficult. The waiting and dreading is so hard.
My mum went for 17 days with absolutely no food or fluid and I didnt know how she managed it. You are right that they are waiting for the breathing to change - they get gaps in their breathing (called Chayne Stokes breathing), which sounds awful, but does not distress the person. Mum had this for 3 days, but it can be as little as a few hours. There are other physical changes that will happen before the end too - the limbs grow cold and the skin mottles. Mums eyes became cloudy too, which for some reason I found the most upsetting.

Hearing is the last thing to go, so even if he appears unresponsive, he will still be able to hear. So talk to him, read to him, play his favourite music.
Make sure you say the important things to him - I love you, thank you, Im sorry and reassure him that you will be all right and its OK for him to go.

Mum died pre-covid, so I dont know what care you are allowed to do now. I was allowed to comb mums hair, give the mouth care with the little sponges, put salve on her lips and moisturiser on her dry skin, but I dont know if you would be allowed to now (or even if you would want to), but Im sure you would be allowed to hold his hand.

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
We aren’t allowed to do much. We have to wear a face mask, gloves and apron when we go in and sit with him. It’s very hard as with wearing a face mask it’s hard for him to see us properly. We do a covid test before we go in aswell. We can hold his hand but the gloves must stay on. I feel as though I can’t give him the proper care he deserves due to all the restrictions. If he needs anything we have to call one of the nurses. Thank you for your reply, I’m trying to stay as strong as I can for my family especially my grandma.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,208
0
High Peak
Your grandad would hate for you to be unhappy. And your grandma will never forget you being there for them both - it is a brave and remarkable thing you are doing.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,483
0
South coast
It’s very hard to leave him though. I sit there and hold his hand and he squeezes it so he must know I’m there, as he’s asleep most of the time.
Im sure he will know that you are there - even when he has drifted into unconsciousness.
On my mums last day she seemed completely unresponsive, but I sang one of her favourite songs to her. When I had finished, she opened up one eye and said, quietly, but distinctly "you missed a beat!" - and she was right, I had. So never think that he is completely unaware.

I agree that it is very hard to leave, but the end might be a few days yet and you have to eat and sleep.
Also, be aware that, despite your best intensions, he might pass when you are not there. That happened to me and I was very upset, but one of the older and very wise carers told me that she had seen this happen many times - sometimes when their relative had just gone to use the loo - and she thought that it was because they didnt want to distress their relative by dying in front of them.
 

Libragirl56

New member
Apr 14, 2022
1
0
I'm also going through this pain.. watching my Mum in and out of sleep. She gets agitated, is morphine the cause ? She's on sub cut pain relief. She hasn't eaten or had fluids for six days now 😞
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,483
0
South coast
Hello @Libragirl56

I am sorry you are going through this time. Im afraid that agitation is part of the dying process. Morphine is used to make them pain-free and comfortable during this period and usually helps this agitation.
xx