How do we Know that Someone is Close to Death?

It is inevitable that at some point, we will all die. It is one of the only certainties we have in life. Medical advances have meant that we are living longer as a species, and researchers are looking for medical test volunteers to continue this crucial research.

But when the time of death eventually comes, how do we recognise that someone is close to death? Maybe we are caring for loved ones who are nearing the end of their lives, and we need to know how best to care for them during this difficult time.

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Here are a few of the things to look out for that help us to see when death is going to happen usually within 3 days…


Mottled skin, or the skin feeling cooler – As the body starts to shut down, blood is directed only to the essential organs, which leaves the skin cool to touch and the mottled appearance that we see.

The death rattle – This can sound alarming but for the person experiencing it is not, doctors say. This is the distinctive rattling breathing sound that is caused by the mucous build up in the lungs.

Refusal to eat or drink – A person in the last few days will start to reject food and drink as the body no longer needs it. As the vital systems start to shut down, the body has no need for fuel. You can however wet the persons lips with a damp swap periodically to keep them comfortable.

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Restlessness – People may become restless, confused or agitated as they enter the active dying process – don’t worry this does not last for long and is a very normal part of the process, you can sit beside them and speak to them to reassure them.


Hi, I am Ronney Chowdhury; I am an entrepreneur, father, mentor and adventurer passionate about life. At this moment, I am working with depression and anxiety.

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