April 03, 2017 in: How to keep seniors hydrated ,
Dehydration, depending on the severity, sometimes creates only small telltale signs while having a big effect on the body, especially in the elderly. Here are some reasons, causes, and signs that your elderly loved one might be suffering from dehydration.
Reasons for Dehydration in Seniors
Sudden shifts in the body’s water balance can frequently result in dehydration, and the physical changes associated with aging expose the elderly in particular to the risks of dehydration. Aging itself makes people less aware of thirst and gradually lowers the body’s ability to regulate its fluid balance.
Medications. It’s not uncommon for seniors to be on several medications at any given time. Some of these may be diuretic, while others may cause patients to sweat more.
Decreased Thirst. A person’s sense of thirst becomes less acute as they age. In addition, frail seniors may have a harder time getting up to get a drink when they’re thirsty, or they may rely on caregivers who can’t sense that they need fluids.
Decreased Kidney Function. As we age our bodies lose kidney function and are less able to conserve fluid (this is progressive from around the age of 50, but becomes more acute and noticeable over the age of 70).
Sticky or dry mouth and tongue
Changes in mood
Inability to sweat or produce tears
Rapid heart rate
Low blood pressure
Low urine output
Ensure your senior family member or friend does not develop severe dehydration by having fluids accessible and convenient. Be sure they eat nutritious and water enriched foods like fruit, soups, and vegetables. If you are living with them, take a look at the color of their urine (dark urine is a sign of dehydration) and make sure enough urine is being produced. Helping them understand the importance of daily water intake is critical to their wellness. Make it as convenient as possible to drink throughout the day by keeping a water bottle around at all times.
Keeping Seniors Hydrated
When your family member is living in an assisted living program be sure a daily hydration program is set from day one. Review your loved one’s hydration status with the professional staff through regular physical exams and medical reviews. Taking a proactive strategy will prevent a multitude of severe and fatal health issues that arise from dehydration.