Risks, Warning Signs, and Prevention Tips: Did you know that the consequences of dehydration in elderly adults are often serious—more so than in younger people? Seniors also have more risk factors for becoming dehydrated. Dehydrated patients are six times more likely to die in the hospital than patients who are not dehydrated.
What Is Dehydration? Water is the source of life. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s true. Throughout our senior’s life, water is essential for many body’s functions, including:
Temperature regulation Waste elimination Joint lubrication Delivery of nutrients to cells Blood oxygen circulation Skin hydration Cognitive function
Many seniors experience at least one of the following risk factors:
1. Seniors Physical Changes But what makes this lack of thirst in elderly people particularly troublesome is that they are generally dehydrated before they feel thirsty. So the senior gets dehydrated quickly because they can’t always recognize the signs of needing to take a drink until it’s too late.
This reduced sense of thirst is often more pronounced in seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia or in those who have had a stroke. Such Luxcare seniors may also have difficulties swallowing or asking for a drink. As a result, our seniors with dementia often need their fluid intake to be carefully monitored.
2. Be alert on medication side effects Many medications that are commonly prescribed to seniors can act as diuretics (i.e., they can increase the production of urine) and contribute to dehydration.
3. Incontinence issues The risk for dehydration associated with incontinence isn’t necessarily caused by the fluid lost through involuntary urination. Rather, it’s related to the fact that our seniors restrict their fluid intake because they don’t want any awkward accidents.
However, it’s important to note that reducing fluid intake doesn’t necessarily prevent incontinence. In fact, encourage our seniors to drink more water three hours before their bedtime which may actually help our seniors deal with incontinence.
As well, when an elderly is dehydrated, their bladder can become more irritable and vulnerable to bacterial infection. So staying hydrated can reduce the risk of UTIs (urinary tract infection).
4. Fear of falling If seniors resist drinking water it is because they worry about falling if they have to get up at night to pee. But being dehydrated is also a risk factor for falling.
However, it’s often a good idea to increase fluid intake during the day and less before bedtime hours for our seniors.
5. Medical issues Many seniors have medical conditions that can lead to dehydration. Examples of health problems than can result in fluid loss include diarrhea, fever, and diabetes.
Caregiver must be aware of dehydration symptoms in in our seniors. In the initial stages, you can tell if an our senior is dehydrated by checking for the following signs of mild dehydration:
Dry skin, particularly in the armpits
Less frequent urination than normal
More severe effects of dehydration in the elderly are:
Dark-colored urine (instead of what it should be: the color of pale straw)
Increased heart rate
Crying without tears
However, it’s important to keep this in mind: Dehydration symptoms in elderly adults aren’t always clear-cut. For example, some medications can affect the color of urine. As well, although dehydration can cause hallucinations in the elderly, cognitive changes from dementia or even side effects from certain medications are also sometimes responsible for the experience of perceiving things that aren’t there.
Here’s one good strategy: If an elder experiences any of the symptoms above, simply encourage our senior to drink some water, then see if the symptoms improve in 10 to 15 minutes.
Call for help if you experience dehydration and or any confusion, unexplained irritability, or sleepiness.
But for moderate dehydration, intravenous (IV) treatment is often necessary. And in severe cases, further intervention may be required. For example, if kidneys are affected, he or she may require dialysis.
If your loved one is experiencing confusion or other more serious signs of dehydration you may need to be admitted to the hospital.
So the treatment and time required for recovery from dehydration, in elderly people especially, depends a lot on the degree of the problem, as well as on the person’s overall health. But taking fast action can help reduce the recovery time for our dehydrated seniors.
How to Prevent Dehydration in the Elderly
Here’s what’s best: Consider all of the factors that can influence how much water our seniors need to drink, including any medications they take, client body weight, and activity level.
In part because of their reduced sense of thirst, many older people find it difficult to get enough fluid in a day. Here are some tips that can make beverages more appealing:
Keep in mind that not all fluids come in a glass. Many foods contain a lot of water. Vegetables, most fruits, and soups can all contribute to your daily fluid intake. (In fact, when elderly people stop eating, they increase their risk for dehydration because they are no longer getting any fluids from food.) You should try using a little creativity by making blending smoothies with fresh greens.
Keep drinks nearby and visible. Seniors often miss out on drinking fluids because they simply forget or can’t access them. An attractive water bottle provides a portable way to always have a drink at hand.
Make drinks enticing and consider alternatives to water. Some seniors find water a bit too boring. Adding a little juice or a flavored drink mix can boost its appeal. Sparkling water is also a nice change.During winter season can make healthy soups for our seniors to increase fluid intake and keep them warm.
So if you know our senior who is struggling to get enough fluids, ask what his or her preferred non-alcoholic drink is. (But remember that diabetics should limit sweet drinks, and seniors with hypertension should limit drinks with sodium.)
Seniors in residential or long-term care facilities can face extra challenges in getting enough fluids.
Knowledge Is Prevention Being aware of the risk of dehydration is the first step toward averting it. So don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare providers about creating strategies for getting enough fluids. And watch for the warning signs of dehydration. Although dehydration in elderly people can be serious, it’s also preventable and treatable.
They are your parents. They raised you, and made sacrifices for you and the family all these years to make sure you grown up to be the person that you are. You need to provide them the best care because they deserve it. They cared for you and now they’re the ones who need you. If you need help call Luxcare Senior Care
They love you. As you grown, your elderly parents were there every stop of the way. Through your fumbles and triumphs, they have loved you unconditionally. You owe it to them and to yourself that they are in good hands and that you show your love in return by caring for them or providing them the same care they have shown you.
They made sacrifices for you. From the moment your mother carried you in her womb, until you grew up to be who or what you are today, your parents have definitely made sacrifices to make sure you are in good hands. Do the same for them by providing quality people from Luxcare Senior Care
Show you appreciate them. Caring for them and attending to their needs is one of the many ways you can show that you love and appreciate them.
Heritage. Your elders are part of your family and they can impart traditions and ideals that have been integral to your family’s history and your own personal identity.
Learn from them. They have been through things you can’t imagine. Throughout the years, they have weathered the many storms of life, and from here you can find precious life lessons. Therefore, take the time to heed what they say and learn from their lives.
They need a sense of belonging. Providing them good elderly care by yourself or with the help of Luxcare Senior Care, stops them from feeling isolated and depressed. You help continue to provide them a sense of community, a social life, that empowers and energizes them.
Gain insight into their values. They lived through a time where the value system is different from yours. By spending time to talk to them and get to know their history, you can gain insight into how they lived, how life was in their times, and learn values that you can also apply to your generation.
They need to feel a sense of purpose. Part of properly caring for your elderly loved ones is providing them a sense of purpose so they will always look forward to the days ahead of them instead of being filled with dread or uncertainty.
They are nearing the end. Let’s face it, sooner or later, with their age, the future becomes more uncertain. This can take a toll on their physical and mental health. Make them live out the rest of their lives feeling happiness and at peace as well as feeling loved and cared for. Let us help you call Luxcare Senior Care
11. It’s simply the right thing to do. As a human being, it’s just right that as a community we care for our elders. After all, you are soon going to become one to.
The top line: People who care for others’ well-being through acts of altruism, volunteering, or formation of communal relationships seem to be happier and less depressed. This seems to be especially true in older individuals.
‘Thesundaybest’ wrote: “Man in the green coat saw the old man was struggling – offered to walk him to his destination. Humanity.” When a younger man steps up to help an older Gentleman, it’s like poetry in motion! How lovely 🙂 Share kindness using the buttons below