Appetite changes as death approaches

You probably will eat and drink less as death nears. This may be related to your general weakness and slowing metabolism.

Because eating has important social meanings, it may be difficult for your family and friends to witness your inability to eat. However, changes in your metabolism mean that you do not need the same amount of food and fluids that you needed before.

You can be offered small sips of fluid or small bites of food as long as you are alert and able to swallow. If swallowing is difficult or impossible, thirst can be prevented by wiping your mouth with a moist washcloth or a special oral swab (purchased at a pharmacy) dipped in a small amount of water.

Last Updated: July 14, 2008

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