Livedo reticularis, more commonly referred to as mottled skin, can be very disturbing for you to see suddenly on your family member’s limbs. Learning what it can mean is important, especially when you’re helping her to plan her end-of-life care.

It’s a Change in the Skin’s Appearance

You’re most likely to notice mottling because it’s a big change to your family member’s skin. It might look as if a purple or red net or lacy pattern is overlaid on her skin. Some people may start to have a slightly mottled appearance to their skin when they’re extremely cold, but this type of skin mottling is far more pronounced. This also does not go away when your family member is warmer or changes position.

Mottling Is Related to Circulation Slowing Down

Mottled skin doesn’t hurt, but it is an indication that your family member’s circulation is slowing way down. This might mean that other signs are imminent. You might notice mottling first on your family member’s feet or legs, but it can appear on her hands and arms, too. Talk with your family member’s doctor to determine what else mottled skin might mean in terms of her specific health concerns.

Mottling Can Be an Indication that Your Senior Is Closer to Passing Away

One of the most important things to be aware of in regards to the mottled skin is that its appearance can mean that your family member is closer to passing away. It often occurs in the last week or two of someone’s life. Your family member may have more time left than you think, so it’s wise not to become too upset if you begin to see mottled skin appearing on your family member’s body.

You May Not See Mottling at All

As common as mottling is, however, not everyone experiences mottled skin when they near the end of their life. You may only notice that your family member’s skin becomes cooler to the touch or perhaps more pale. This can also depend on the types of health issues that your family member is facing at the end of her life. Elder care providers can help you to learn what to be aware of in terms of signs that the end of your family member’s life is approaching more quickly.


If you’re not certain whether you’re seeing mottling on your elderly family member’s skin or not, hospice elder care providers can help you to identify it.

If you or a loved-one have questions about Elder Care in Toms River, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Serenity Hospice. Call today, we can help:  (609)-227-2400

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