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End of Life with Dementia


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Old 01-16-2017, 03:01 PM   #1
sazzle3291
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End of Life with Dementia

Hi all,
My fiance's grandfather went into hospital about 6 weeks ago due to a fall at home. He's had dementia for a little while now, but he seemed fine before, just easily confused with some incontinence. I've worked in care homes for residents with dementia and have seen different severities. Since being in hospital, his condition declined quite rapidly, contracting chest infections, urine infections and norovirus.
He became quite delirious, and his cognitive function deteriorated very quickly. Almost a week ago, he started having seizures and then wouldn't wake up. My partner and his family were called in during the night last Friday as he was Cheyne Stoking and it was believed that he wouldn't make it through the weekend. He is on a morphine and sedative butterfly IV, just to make him comfortable and has been nil by mouth since Friday. My partner said he heard the 'death rattle', however I have seen his grandfather twice for a few hours since and have not heard it, and was surprised to see him able to cough and clear his throat.
It's terribly painful for his family to watch this prolonged dying, and I know deep down they have accepted whats going to happen, with my fiance's nan even saying to her husband its okay to go, we will be okay, etc.
I was just wondering how long people tend to hold on in this state before they pass away. My fiance is doing okay at the moment, however he grew up and lived with his grandparents and I know it's going to hurt like hell, especially as he has never experienced bereavement before. I care for them all deeply, and I want to be there the best I can.

Thanks x

 
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:14 PM   #2
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Re: End of Life with Dementia

Dear sazzle,

People who are in the dying process can suddenly at times appear perfectly healthy and responsive. I have seen people open eyes, smile and even speak during the death process. All sorts of normal life activity may appear, but it doesn't remain. Some even wake up and say good bye to people that they hadn't recognized for months or years.

All we can do is be supportive and understanding, as every dying person dies in his or her own way and every grieving person goes through it in their own way. We can't fix any of it and we aren't supposed to.

But you can continue to empathize, listen and be 'with'. That's all he needs for you to do.

Bless you
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