Dehydration is a very serious problem for the elderly. While most of us can avoid dehydration simply by drinking a glass of water if we feel parched, things may not be so simple for your aging loved one.
For starters, the elderly are much more prone to dehydration because as we age, our bodies retain less and less water. Also, many illnesses and medications can cause more frequent urination. This leads the body to lose even more of the hydration it should be retaining. To exacerbate this even more, many seniors limit the amount of water or other beverages they allow themselves to drink per day, because incontinence or having to go to the restroom so many times a day makes them feel embarrassed. Plus, another side effect of many medications is thirst, so your loved one might not realize that they are really thirsty, not just experiencing dry mouth from their medicine.
But now that you know what can cause dehydration in the elderly, what can you do about it? First of all, you and/or whoever is in charge of the elderly care of your aging parent or loved one should be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms:
- Extreme thirst – Does your loved one act like they are dying of thirst, chugging down a glass of water like they have been walking through the desert for weeks? This is an obvious sign of dehydration, although it can also be a sign of other disorders, like diabetes. Either way, it should not be ignored.
- Dizziness – Does your loved one feel dizzy or disoriented? Are they having balance problems? While this could be a symptom of many things as well, it could also be a sign of dehydration. If your loved one feels dizzy, it may be enough to give them something to drink. If the problem does not resolve itself after they are rehydrated, though, you should check with a doctor to see what is causing the dizziness.
- Confusion – Is your loved one confused? Do they seem out of sorts or like they’re not quite sure what is going on? Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that they have a very serious medical condition like dementia – it may just be dehydration in disguise.
- Tiredness – Again, fatigue is a common side effect of many illnesses and conditions. However, one possible cause is that the body does not have enough fluids to fuel it, which makes the person feel tired, sluggish, and weak.
- Changes in urination – Have you noticed your loved one using the restroom much less than they usually do? Less frequent urination is usually a sign that there is less fluid in the body, meaning that there is less need to urinate. Dark urine is also a sign that the body is dehydrated, so have your loved one keep an eye out for both of these signs.
It is possible that many seemingly grave problems could be solved just by offering your loved one a bottle of water. However, if your loved one is experiencing frequent dehydration, or the dehydration is severe, you should take them to the doctor or hospital so that they can get properly rehydrated.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Katy, TX, contact the caring staff at Personal Caregiving Services at 832-564-0338. Providing Care in Houston, Bellaire, West University Place, Katy, and Sugar Land and the surrounding areas.
In 1989 after selling his family owned food service business, Mr. Gerber pursued his compassion for the elderly by completing his geriatric education and training requirements to be a licensed nursing home administrator (LNFA) from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.Previously he received his undergraduate business degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his Masters in business administration (MBA) from the University of Houston.In 2003, Mr. Gerber earned his Certification to be a Senior Advisor (CSA).
Sid Gerber is a Google Verified Author
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