How to know when your loved one is dying


The dying process usually begins long before death. Sometimes knowing the general steps in this process can help you know when a loved one is about to die. There are certain physical, mental and emotional changes that are signs of the end of life .

Death is a deeply personal journey, and nothing is sure or set in stone more than the outcome. You can take different paths, but the steps often seem similar.

This article looks at these steps on the road to death. It begins with what happens about one to three months before death, then during the last two weeks before death, and then in the last days of life. It is designed to help you know what to expect in the process.

Get Medical Information / Cindy Chang

Death process

Perhaps your loved one has been ill for a long time or recently discovered that the end is near. But in any case, the process of dying begins: a journey from the known life of this world to the unknown about what awaits us.

Each person begins their mental journey of discovery, knowing that death will indeed occur and believing in their own mortality. They will eventually leave your body.

There are milestones on this path, but not everyone stops at them. Some may affect only a few, while others may experience each one and take their time. Some may take only a few days, while others travel by road for months. Thus begins the journey.

One to three months before death

For many people, the process of dying becomes evident between a month and three months before death. The process is quite similar for all genders, although there are some differences.

Women are more likely to reconsider their lives and think about regret in their relationships. Men are more likely to leave, because they don't want to be seen as helpless or needy.

Mental and behavioral changes.

When a person accepts his mortality and realizes the proximity of death, he can begin to leave. They begin the process of separating themselves from the world and the people who inhabit it.

Your loved one may refuse to visit friends, neighbors, and even family members. When they accept visitors, it can be difficult for them to interact and you may have a hard time taking care of them at this time.

This is the time when a person begins to think about his life and go back to old memories. By evaluating their lives, they can resolve any regrets.

Physical changes

The dying person may experience decreased appetite and weight loss as the body slows down. The body does not need energy from food as it used to. The dying person may now be asleep more and not busy with the activities they once enjoyed. They don't need so much food anymore.

During this time, the chemical composition of the body changes naturally, and this can mean something wonderful: it can cause mild feelings of euphoria , feelings of happiness and well-being.

A dying person cannot experience hunger or thirst. They do not suffer in any way because they do not eat, and this is an expected part of the path they take.

One or two weeks before death.

Families often find that the dying process accelerates in the last week or two of their lives. This can scare them, especially if they are upset about changes in the psyche of a loved one.

At this point in the journey, you can "correct" your loved one if they say things that don't make sense. It is not recommended. Perhaps it is better to listen to them and support their thoughts.

If they claim to have seen loved ones who died before, let them tell you. We have no way of knowing if they are hallucinations or if our loved ones are really seeing what we cannot. Just love them.

Mental and behavioral changes.

This is the time when the dying person begins to sleep most of the time. Confusion is common and changes in feelings can be expected. A loved one may experience delusions, such as fearing hidden enemies or feeling invincible, and you may need to be patient and supportive.

The dying person may also have hallucinations. Come or talk to people who are not around, including those who have already died. Some may see in this the veil lifted between the two worlds.

The person may be restless and play with the sheets or clothing. Movements and actions may seem pointless and useless to others.

Physical changes

It is difficult for the body to support itself, and your loved one may need help with almost any form of activity. They may have trouble swallowing medications or they may refuse to take their prescriptions. If they are taking pain relievers, they may need liquid morphine.

There may be certain signs in the body that death is near. They include:

  • Body temperature one degree or more below normal
  • Low blood pressure
  • An irregular heartbeat that may slow down or speed up.
  • Increased sweating
  • Pale or bluish discoloration of the skin, lips, and nail beds
  • Respiratory changes, which may include wheezing and coughing.
  • Less or no talk
  • Sudden movements of the arms or legs.

From days to hours until death

Sometimes the last days before you die can surprise family members. As you near death, your loved one may experience a sudden burst of energy. They want to get out of bed, talk to loved ones, or eat after a few days of poor appetite.

Some loved ones believe that the dying person is getting better, and when this energy is gone, it hurts. Know that this is a normal step, but it generally means that the person is moving toward death, not death. These are the dying person's last physical actions before moving on.

The burst of energy is usually brief and the previous signs return in a stronger form as death approaches. Breathing becomes more irregular and often slower. Cheyne-Stokes respiration, rapid breathing, alternating with periods of complete breathlessness, may occur. So maybe a loud rattle.

Again, these changes in breathing can be upsetting to loved ones, but they don't seem unpleasant to the dying person.

The hands and feet may turn mottled, crimson, or mottled. This stain can slowly spread to the arms and legs. The lips and nail bed are bluish or purple, and the lips may sag.

The person usually stops responding. Their eyes may be open, but they don't see their surroundings. Listening is widely believed to be the last feeling a dying person leaves behind, so it is recommended that loved ones sit with the dying person and speak to them at this time.

Eventually, breathing will stop completely and the heart will stop. Death has come, the journey is complete, and now the living must continue their journey.


Many people wonder if they will know if a loved one is dying. The signs often appear and appear one to three months before death. Knowing these signs can help you prepare for the death of a loved one and comfort you when you face these physical and mental changes.

Get the word of drug information

This is a difficult time, but people are here to help you. Hospice staff, social workers, or ministers can help you recognize and understand some of the changes. They can offer you support and help you learn to support your dying loved one as much as possible.

Frequently asked questions

  • Physical signs that someone is about to die include:

    • Respiratory changes, including shortness of breath and wet breathing.
    • Cold hands and feet
    • Constipation
    • Decreased appetite and thirst.
    • Delirium
    • Fatigue
    • Urinary incontinence
    • Nausea
    • Pain
    • Anxiety

  • As the body slows down to prepare for death, the metabolism slows down and less food is required. The digestive tract is also less active, so the person will most likely not feel hungry.

  • When a person stops eating completely at the end of their life, it is a sign that death is near. This can take anywhere from a few days to 10 days. However, some people stay for several weeks after they stop eating.

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