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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board

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My Father-in-law is going through his final stages of life. He went from a spunky man to a lifeless body laying in bed at all times. Now that he is in what everyone calls "active dying" my question is ~ Why do they say not to force feed him when there are no more bowel sounds? And is not providing him with his morphin a bad thing? We try to use it only when he looks uncomfortable. We have always put Morphin and dying as going hand in hand.
Somebody can correct me if I am wrong but if there are no bowl sounds then he is not processing food. Force feeding him will do him no good and is a choking hazard.

The morphine is for pain. You do not want your love one in pain. Sometimes you cannot tell when they need the medication until it has gone on too long. Morphine is not necessarily associated with death. It is associated with relieving chronic pain. It does make the last days more comfortable.

I am sorry you are having to go through this. It is hard to let go of the ones we love. I wish you strength and energy for the journey ahead and keep you in my thoughts and prayers. May your Father in Law go in peace....
Nancy Carter,

My father just died from alzheimers (actually they stated another reason for his death). About 1 mo. before his death, he ate very little. It had to be something he really liked. Like: ice cream, pudding, iced tea, little pieces of fruit. Only little bits, like: 2 - 1/2 tsp. of one thing and 2 - 1/2 tsp. of another, and then only a little liquid. Like holding your finger over the top of the straw and then putting the other end in his mouth. Then, about the last 4 days, he would eat and drink nothing.

I have been told it does not hurt dying people to not eat for weeks. The nurses did put the wet sponges on a stick in and on his mouth. He would not and then could not swallow pills. So, it was none for a while, then when he was in pain (trying to swallow bits of food) and making faces like it tasted bad, we did not even try to feed him.

Hospice was called for my dad (by me) on a Sat. morning, and they put him on 24 hr. critical care and morphine by 8 pm that night. I wanted him to never be in pain. They gave him morphine whenever they saw the slightest little sign (those hospice nurses are pro at that). I had learned a lot from all the ladies/caregivers on this and another alz. forum, and knew the signs to look for and when I did not, I would ask. What harm can it do, to give an alzheimers patient/loved one, too much morphine?! They are going to die...

In my opinion, you should never Force Feed an alz. patient. I would just say, take one bite, and if you do not like it, then you do not have to have anymore. I would also hate to feed an alz patient by tube, in nose, mouth or hole in stomach. And no tying of hands unless absolutely necessary and then only for a short time.

I must say that I was/am the forceful type, when it comes to the comfort of my dad!!! I would say that I was a real pain in the butt, whenever my dad was not being treated fast enuf or well enuf!

Sorry to have gone on so long, just do and ask to be done, what you think is in the best interest of your loved one. Think about what you would like to have done to you in such a situation.

Take care of you. Be sure and tell your FIL, that he can go home now, or go to God, or some such phrase!

Love, Wannabe
Dear Nancy . . . depending on what disease has triggered the process of dying, the body's systems will shut down in a specific order. If there are no bowel sounds, the bowls have stopped functioning, so feeding is not going to be effective. Your nurses should be able to help you understand what to expect next. You may enjoy reading a book called "Final Gifts" written by two hospice nurses. It's about how the dying communicate with us in their final days, what they see, what they experience and their desire to share it with us. Things may sound confused, but if you pay really close attention you may be able to interpret these special messages in ways that will help you accept the remarkable gifts that accompany such a transition.

You have my love and support in this difficult time. Take a few deep breaths from time to time.
Thank you all fr your support and personal emails.
Sadly we lost my Father-In-Law yesturday morning.
I will deeply miss him
My sympathy goes out ot you and your family Nancy. I hope you all find the peace and comfort that you search for.

Love, Deb
My condolences too, Nancy. Sad - but he is now out of pain and at peace.



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