There is a typical end of life process that should be expected in a situation of the natural ending of one’s life. This process will remain much the same for everyone, following these steps:
3 Steps for the End of Life Process
These steps occur similarly for everyone as they go through the process known as the end of life.
The Process of Eating
There are typical rules or accepted actions that go along with end of life and eating. These are common among most people:
- Appetite Reduction – As a person nears their end of life they will most likely have a reduced appetite; this is okay. It’s not unusual for a person to stop eating all together as they approach their end of life because food actually sustains us and keeps us whole within our body.
- Food Sustains Life – You need food, the nutrients and vitamins from it, and the calories from it to sustain life. If your body is preparing itself for the end of life it no longer wants to be sustained and held back by being provided for with the use of food.
The Process of Sleeping
Sleeping differs when you are facing end of life.
- Comfort Care – As a person enters various stages of the end of life process there are different measures that will keep the person comfortable while allowing the natural process of end of life occurs.
- Sleeping More – In the beginning stages of the end of life process it is likely that your loved one will be sleeping more but still be able to respond to others when awake. However, time awake will lessen as they prepare themselves for the final journey.
- Nonresponsive Sleep – Nonresponsive sleep comes in the final hours or days and is common.
The Process of Withdrawal
As a person prepares their body and mind for the end of life they will show signs of withdrawal.
- Acknowledgement to the Loved Ones – As a part of the process, withdrawing from the world around you is common and can often serve as a way for them to acknowledge their path ahead. Once they begin to withdraw from those around them it becomes a matter of “being” and not a matter of “speaking.”
- Separation from Others – A loved one may begin showing signs of withdrawal by saying that they don’t want visitors or are too tired to visit; this is okay and should be allowed.
- Includes Change in Sleep – Part of the process of withdrawal actually includes the change in sleep patterns as a person sleeps more and is awake less as they approach their end of life. Barbara Karnes speaks about these changes and withdrawal on her blog and in her works.
End of life care is an area that Above and Beyond can offer an expert line of care and we encourage you to call us if you are facing end of life decisions.
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