We fear that our Mom who suffers from Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) will either choke to death or starve to death.
Mom was officially diagnosed with LBD three years ago when she exhibited signs of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, hallucinations and delusions. Throughout this period, she has been hospitalized a couple of times, but primarily she’s remained in her own home with round the clock home health care.
Mom is now in a nursing home and has eaten and drank very little in the past two weeks. When she is fed or provided liquid, she frequently chokes. Mom has the swallowing problems (dysphagia) so typical of Parkinson’s patients. Aspiration pneumonia, a leading cause of death with Parkinson’s patients, often develops as a complication of mealtime swallowing problems, leading to the inhalation of food and drink.
Approaching the end of her life, Mom has experienced a decrease in appetite and thirst, and wants little or no food or fluid. It’s her body’s way of preparing for the final shutdown: death.
It’s a predicament – death by choking or by death by starvation. My brothers, sisters and I have difficulty accepting that there’s nothing more we can do, and that it’s beyond our control. No matter how hard we try, we don’t get out of this world alive.