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how long can a 94 person last on few sips of food/liquids each day?

she is 94 and has had two strokes and cannot speak.  This decline in consuming food/liquids has been going on for several weeks. She is under Hospice care.

Related Topics: Stroke, Food

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

General Medicine
1,458 Answers
71,701 Helpful Votes
I'm sorry you're going through this, especially during the holidays.

It's natural for a person to gradually stop eating and drinking over the course of their final days or weeks. As the body winds down, it no longer needs the sustenance or hydration it required in the past.

It is hard to watch a loved one stop eating and drinking. I know because I've been through it. It was hard for me, even as a nurse!

But I hasten to assure you that your loved one is not suffering from this decline in consuming foods and liquids. Your loved one probably is not feeling hunger or thirst sensations anymore, and this is normal. However, they may become upset or agitated if urged to eat or drink when they don't want to. So, rest assured your loved one is not suffering during this time. The body is performing all the normal and necessary tasks of the dying process.

As to how long someone can last, there is no good answer. When a person completely stops taking fluids, the end usually is quite near -- usually within a few days. A person can go without food for a much longer time.

If you have questions about the dying process, please don't hesitate to ask your hospice nurse. He or she should be able to answer all your questions. And remember, the hospice team is there for the family, too. Use them as a highly skilled and knowledgeable support team.

Again, I'm very sorry you're doing through this. I wish you, your loved one, and your family peace at this stressful time.

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