There are physical changes that commonly occur when a person is near death, explains the Hospice Foundation of America. Dying persons often show decreased activity, with little interest in people and their surroundings, and loss of both appetite and the ability to consume liquids. Their body temperatures may drop, with respiration patterns becoming abnormal.
When a person nears death, congested breathing may occur from fluid in the lungs, causing noises that upset family members but are not an indication of pain, according to WebMD. The skin of a dying person may become cold and pale or change to a gray tone, and fingernails may take on a bluish color.
People nearing death often experience illusions and hallucinations, mistaking sounds for someone crying or confusing shadows on the wall for loved ones who are deceased. Caregivers should not attempt to convince the dying person that these images are hallucinations, as that may distress them and cause them to strike out, advises WebMD.
Those on the verge of death may also develop delusions of grandeur and think they can accomplish what is not physically possible, or they may hear voices and think that someone is present in the room who wants to hurt them, notes WebMD. Caretakers should comfort and talk to the dying person, even if they drift in and out of consciousness, because hearing is often the last faculty to remain.