Is it obvious when an elderly person is about to die? Please answer, I'm concerned about my grandmother...?

My grandmother is reasonably old (early/mid 70's). She doesn't seem particularly ill/weak, and is still living in her own home with her husband. She is, however, a heavy smoker, and has been since her late teens. Will it be obvious when she is about to die, allowing me to say my last good-byes? How likely is it that it will be a sudden death in the sleep kind of thing?

I'm sorry if this is a kind of morbid question, I'm just really scared that I will be caught unaware and I will regret not saying good-bye.

Thank you.

14 Answers

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  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Early to mid 70's isn't really very old to us Seniors - as you say, she is living at home with her husband and isn't ill . There is no reason for you to expect her to die any time soon. The fact that she smokes, doesn't make it more likely that she will die - some smokers live into their 90's and she might be one of them. So don't worry about saying your last goodbyes quite yet. None of us knows when we are going to die, and there is nothing in your description of your Grandma that indicates that she is going to go soon. Just spend some quality time with her when you can, talk to her and show her that you love her. She'll be much more happy with that, than she would be if you started telling her "goodbye".

  • Lynn
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    No, it's not always obvious. Some people can die in their sleep following a heart attack,

    or a massive stroke. Being in ones' 70's isn't old anymore. Of course it is to you, as a

    young person. The fact she is a smoker, has already shortened her life by alot. Both of

    my parents had a cigarette in their hands, when they died. My dads' heart just stopped,

    and my mother had a massive stroke followed with a brain aneurism. Had she pulled

    through that she would have been in a vegitable state, the doctor had said. They put

    her on a life saving unit, and after a few days, pulled the plug. She lived on her own for

    another day, and then died. A nurse was with her, as she took her last breath. And they

    gave her oxygen to ease the transition into death, I was told. She was in her 70's also.

    There's no way to tell when someone is going to die unexpectedly. So I'd suggest

    visitng as often as you can. Discuss her youth, and how she and her husband met, and

    anything else you would like to know, while you can ask. I made that mistake, and did

    not ask much. I never dreamed she'd die as young as she did. Many times, an accident

    can take our lives, and the family is never prepared, if we aren't prepared. So get all of

    the information now, and take notes so you don't forget things. You'll want to know

    which if any, diseases she has, that you can inherit. Even high blood pressure. I learned

    I inherited too many bad things from my parents later on, as I too got older. So it pays

    to take as good a care of your body now, to ward off things you could minimize in the

    future. Hopefully you are not a smoker, to avoid having any respiratory problems, with

    breathing, or heart trouble. Your grandma should quit smoking now. And use whatever

    quitting aids she needs to not inhale anymore tar and nicotine. I didn't have any trouble

    when I quit smoking. It was over 5 years, later, I was diagnosed wtih Emphasema/COPD,

    and Congestive Heart Failure. The damage had been done all those years before, but

    it would be evident, that soon my breathing would decline, and it did.

    So see your grandma often, and tell her you love her. Saying things like this, enables

    you to say your goodbyes, in the event of her sudden death.

  • 8 years ago

    Dying doesn't happen on a schedule. Much like birth. If you don't want to have regrets, you just keep in touch with her according to her needs and your ability. For instance, she's not alone now, so I wouldn't think she would need daily contact, but if you get along with her you could call her once a week. Ppl that age appreciate being able to know when you're going to call. As in, it's sunday! Sue will call today!

    the point isn't to say Good by just before someone dies, the point is to have a good time with them, enjoy them, if you do, and spend time with them when you can, and to make sure they're no alone and needing something. Then when ever death chooses to come you won't have regrets as you will have loved them, and enjoyed them.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Actually, it is not obvious! And it is not suppose to be! my friend had a life threatening illness, and yet at the end , they did not know she was going. Your grandmother ( being a heavy smoker) could have a heart attack and be gone in a moment. Or she could get a lung disease and linger and suffer for years. Only God knows when we will go.

    My advice to you is , when you visit Grandma, always tell her good bye and tell her I love you grandma. This way if anything happens to her , you have said your good bys to her! Give her a hug and a kiss, don't wait till the end for a last good by!

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  • 8 years ago

    Anything can happen, but if you mean a natural death--as opposed to a car accident, etc.--then there are usually ways to tell if a person is slipping:

    Loss of appetite/thirst Fatigue Hard time breathing Lethargy Weakness Pain

    These were signs my gramma exhibited when she was near the end. She died a natural death, brought on by emphysema combined with a slip & fall accident.

  • scaggs
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    i ought to believe this through fact interior the northern states the electric powered energy is going out throughout blizzards at circumstances for days. except you have been with the aid of that for a week, you may never understand that it may get that chilly interior the homestead with the wind blowing that annoying. many homes did not have insulation back then. in the event that they had gasoline for heat it somewhat is attainable they ran out or could not get out to get it. i could question "the main basic reason" factor, however the very elderly do have difficulty protecting heat, so perhaps. i've got never heard that, although.

  • S
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Sudden death can happen at any time to any one. Signs of death getting closer:people stop eating, they get weaker, lose weight, may ''push'' you away emotionally or may want you closer, their breathing becomes labored, they slip into a stupor,or coma, their organs start shutting down one by one. Kidney function one of the first to go Breathing becomes erratic You will see blue ring around white lips The eyes look hollow or empty.Their skin that rests under them will turn blue as the circulatory system shuts down. They gasp for breath. Then the death rattle. Love her while she is here.

  • Milton
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    There are no guarantees in life. Your grandmother could outlive you. Stop agonizing over something you have no control over. Instead, show her that you love and respect her every opportunity you get while she is healthy. I'm 72 and in e best of health. I need the love and respect of my grandchild now, not when I am on my death bed...or die in my sleep.

  • 8 years ago

    Sounder and Milton have given the best advice.

    A goodbye at the last moment is not important.

    Continuing to show love and respect and cheerfulness is what will make her happy.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Yes, it is a bit morbid - yes, she will die some day & likely before you, but you can't go around thinking abt it while she is alive & healthy.

    if you keep all the moments good, you will not have guilt or regret. if you treat her badly, you will. so, keep it positive - death happens. she would not want you to worry prematurely.

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