How long?


Registered User
Mar 31, 2008
Hi, I am revisiting this site after being away for about a year...too busy dealing with mom. My mom has had dementia for over 7 years. I cared for her at home until November last year when it became too difficult. My question is how long can some one live with out eating and taking in only small amounts of liquid (about 800cc/day) by eye dropper. She does not move or open her eyes or respond much to external stimuli unless she is annoyed that we are trying to feed her. She does swallow liquid from the eye dropper though. Her blood pressure, heart rate etc. are all good. Can some one exist in this state for a long period of time?


Registered User
Mar 27, 2008
Hello Cher

You are re-visiting the site and I am really new to it. It sounds like you are really tired yourself of the long journey with your mum. I don't suppose anyone can really answer your question but you will know yourself that you won't have as far to travel as you've already been. I wonder if you are really asking whether you can hold on much longer? Maybe this is just the time for the help that this site might offer you. I have not experienced what you are going through but I can say that I offer kind wishes and an ear (or in this case an eye) to listen.



Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
Hi Cher

I too am at the same stage as you. For 3 weeks mum has not eaten much food at all (a couple of teaspoons per meal) but is relying on protein drinks, about 800ml a day.

Mostly she lies unresponsive with an occasional bright day.

I too ask myself "how long is the piece of string?" I don't know. I just hope that I have the strength to continue until it ends.


Everyone here really helps me.




Registered User
Apr 13, 2007

My thoughts are with you. My mum took 3 days to get to the end of her journey and that was once her swallowing reflex had completely gone. She was pretty strong, sadly she didn't have a stroke or a heart attack the dementia claimed her in the end.

Its going to be really hard for you and your family, I went to hell and back at least one hundred times. It's haunting and no matter how informed I thought I was, nothing but nothing prepared me for her end.

I was not there when she died, I couldn't take the heartache anymore. I visited her two hours before she died, told her I loved her and said all the things I wanted to say. I had to face the fact that I 'lost' her a long time ago.


Registered User
Jul 7, 2007
Hello Cher

It's really really hard isn't it when this stage is reached - the uncertainty is so stressful.

Our Mum was like this several times - became skeletal , never opened her eyes etc - BUT - made a couple of minor miraculous recoveries for a while and then it started all over again.

In my experience of Mum the answer to your question is "yes" - some people can last like this for a very long time but others don't.

So, so sorry I can't help but will be thinking of you (and Mameeskye) The one definite answer I can give is that "yes" - you will find the strength you need to deal with it in your own individual way (there is no right or wrong here) - as did Louise D. when the time came.