Most elderly adults have at least one chronic health condition to deal with, and often two or more. Dehydration is a condition that can complicate existing health problems and create many more. When seniors don’t get proper intake of fluids, the body struggles to stay healthy. Family caregivers must focus on keeping their elderly loved one hydrated and therefore healthy.
When it comes to staying hydrated, family caregivers and elder care providers need to exert a lot of influence on the aging adult so that they avoid the dangers of dehydration.
Symptoms of Dehydration in Elderly Adults.
Family caregivers may not be as familiar with the symptoms of dehydration beyond thirst, but in seniors there can be a range of signs that their body fluid levels are lower than normal. Because elderly adults often have dulled senses, feeling thirsty may not even be a symptom of dehydration as it is for younger adults. Then, family caregivers and elder care providers must rely on symptoms that are less common. These are a few of the most common symptoms of dehydration in seniors:
- Dry mouth.
- Sunken eyes.
- Loss of suppleness in the skin.
- Low urine output.
- Dark and smelly urine.
- Absence of sweat or tears.
- Low blood pressure.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Chronic constipation.
- Extreme fatigue.
If more than one of these symptoms is taking place in the aging adult, it could be a sign of dehydration. Two or more symptoms is usually a sign of dehydration and family caregivers should take action immediately. Family caregivers and elder care providers should provide drinks and make sure the senior’s fluid intake increases. Without treatment, seniors could suffer health problems and even trigger kidney failure or seizures.
Preventing Dehydration in Elderly Adults.
Family caregivers and elder care providers can work together to instill good hydration habits in aging adults. It’s a good idea to make drinking water at every meal a habit. Others may want to carry a water bottle around and remind the aging adult to sip water throughout the day. Water-rich foods like vegetables, soups, fruit, and tea can also hydrate a senior’s body. If the senior is sick and suffering with diarrhea or vomiting, the fluid intake should increase dramatically to compensate for the losses.
Whether it’s hot or cold, aging adults need help from their family caregivers and elder care providers to stay hydrated. If the senior doesn’t seem to be able to overcome the dehydration, family caregivers should take them to the doctor for an evaluation. When health and wellness are at risk, family caregivers would do anything to help their aging relative. Keeping seniors properly hydrated is an excellent way to boost overall health, because when their bodies have all the fluids they need to function properly, they are better able to resist the effects of chronic illnesses and disease.