How To Prevent Senior Dehydration
Posted on June 17, 2015
in Family Caregivers
Updated 8/25/15 10:18am | At
Alert1 our new saying is a life well hydrated is a life well lived! Water
sustains all life, yet many seniors
do not drink enough water to stay healthy on a daily basis. Dehydration is
one of the most common reasons for hospitalization in seniors. Is your aging loved
one drinking enough?
Dehydration occurs when an
individual loses more water than they are taking in. Health
complications often happen to adults over 60, as they are more susceptible.
Some of the signs of dehydration
are hard to spot. But even these less noticeable symptoms have big effects on
the body. Help your loved one avoid dehydration. Take the first step and
educate yourself on the symptoms.
Symptoms of senior dehydration
Do you know the symptoms of
dehydration? It can be more than just being thirsty. Maybe Mom hasn’t been
finishing her water bottles. Or maybe she has been getting headaches. You can detect
these senior warning signs through close monitoring and communication. Keep
an eye out for these symptoms:
- Dry mouth
- Inability to urinate
- Cramping in limbs
- Fever or flushed face
- Crying but with few or no tears
- Weakness or difficulty walking
- Sleepiness or irritability
If Mom has these symptoms, get
some water and electrolytes in her system. Have her drink a sports drink like
Gatorade® and give her foods with
high water content like fruits and vegetables.
Mom shows signs of lethargy, confusion, fainting or has low blood pressure, she
needs hospitalization immediately. You can check
for decreased skin turgor by
pulling up the skin on her hand. If it does not return to normal almost
immediately, she is severely dehydrated.
loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, press their medical alert system button and help will be on the way.
Severe dehydration has serious risks associated with it and should be treated
Causes of senior dehydration
We all know the main cause of
dehydration: not drinking enough water. Did you know dehydration isn’t just
caused by not drinking enough? There are the other issues that you must be
and medications can be big factors
who is ill may have diarrhea, vomiting or loss of blood which dehydrates
quickly. The medications she is taking may be diuretic or cause her to sweat
excessively. Also your senior may be dehydrated from not managing different
prescriptions properly. Talk to Mom’s doctor if her medication is drying her
medication dispenser and organizer will remind your senior to take the
correct dose at the right time of day.
Mom’s body is aging, and it can
make it hard for her to drink enough. And what she does drink isn’t as
effective as it was when she was younger. Always keep a bottle of water on Mom’s
bedside table to
prevent nighttime falls and save a trip to the kitchen when she feels thirsty.
not feel thirsty, even if she’s dehydrated. Seniors
with dementia or Alzheimer’s often lose track of how much water they’ve drank
throughout the day. If she has
trouble moving around, she may drink less to avoid the perceived embarrassment
of using the bathroom too often.
Prevention tips for seniors
Now that you know many reasons
seniors get dehydrated, take these preventative measures to keep Mom safe,
happy and healthy.
First thing first, make sure she
is getting water in her system. Seniors
should profusely drink water to keep cool in the hot summer months. Encourage
her to drink even when she isn’t thirsty yet. Make it even easier for her to
drink enough with these tips:
- Give her food with high water content such as fruits, vegetables, and soups.
- Use small, “kid sized”
water bottles. This will be less overwhelming than a giant jug.
- Keep water next to Mom at
all times. Keep a glass next to her bed and favorite chair. Having it nearby
will encourage her to sip throughout the day.
- Mix it up. Have Mom try different types of beverages at different
temperatures. You can even get liquids into your stubborn senior by giving her
popsicles, smoothies, milkshakes or sport drinks.
Mom is full of H20, make sure she doesn’t lose it. These tips will
keep her from losing too much water:
Mom’s eyes with UV-resistant lenses and have her wear broad sunhats to keep
- Keep her out of the sun. You want her to get outside, but too much
sun will dry her out. If she is going to be out for a long time, make sure she
drinks more than usual.
- Weigh her every day.
If she is 2 pounds less than the day before and has a headache or feels
thirsty, she is probably dehydrated. Mild dehydration is defined as losing 2%
of body weight, while severe dehydration is losing 4%. Even mild dehydration
can affect a person’s health, especially if she has cardiac or kidney problems.
- Avoid sugary and caffeinated drinks (see seniors and
diabetes fall risks). These are diuretic, making it easier for the body to
Enjoy summer safely
It’s time for seniors
to enjoy the summer. Keep Mom hydrated and safe so that dehydration doesn’t
ruin the fun. Know the dangers and raise awareness of the risks that come with
the hot summer months. Prevention is key to keeping your loved one’s happy and
healthy throughout the year.
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