Stages of the Dying Process

As unique as life is to all persons, death is just as unique.

People respond to the dying process in so many different ways but there are signs and symptoms that seem to be typical of the general population. The information presented below is merely a guide and an informational tool as to the types of changes you might see in yourself or your loved one.

Decrease in food intake

This is marked by a decreased appetite, desire for food, decreased amount of food eaten. Food tastes change as a person’s body tires. This is part of the normal process as the body slows and requires less energy. While it is very difficult for a loved one to see a patient refuse to eat, it is not recommended to force foods. Forcing foods may cause increased discomfort. It is still very normal for individuals to urinate and have routine bowel movements as the body continues to break down food, fat and muscle, and the waste products are excreted from the body.

Increase in sleeping

This is evident by an increase in the number of hours a person sleeps. Napping becomes more frequent. The person may fall asleep mid-conversation or even mid-sentence.

Withdrawal from the world

It is normal for a person to lose interest in the activities of the outside world, even to the extent of limiting contact with visitors and family. This withdrawal can be related to a weakening of the body and an emotional need to begin to separate from this life. Communication can become difficult through this time. Touch and presence become very important.

Physical changes

Changes in blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, respirations, and even blood sugars can be normal. A person’s skin color may even change due to the weakness of the body and the heart’s inability to pump blood efficiently.

These are important signs showing changes in a person’s body that can indicate progression through the dying process. However, many individuals show many different signs at different times throughout their journey and every journey is unique.

Our staff is available to identify and discuss what you may be seeing in your loved one.


The future of health care is a serious concern for all of us.  There are many unknowns, but our dedicated staff knows one thing for certain – we want our agency to be available in Kosciusko County for the next family who needs our help.  Your generous gift will make that possible.