Look Out For These Warning Signs Of Dehydration In Older Adults

  • August 30, 2021 BY  Anthem Seniors
  • Anthem Senior Advantage

Some signs of health issues appear all of a sudden, for example, severe pain, difficulty breathing, etc. Others appear gradually leading to serious health complications, dehydration being one of them. This article aims to delve deep into the risks and warning signs of dehydration so that you can prevent it. There’s no doubt that awareness is the first and the most important step in avoiding any health issue.

Dehydration is very common in the elderly, but people often fail to realize the seriousness of it. The importance of water for the many functions of your body cannot be emphasized enough, for example, cognitive function, skin hydration, temperature regulation, elimination of waste, and more. Dehydration is a sign that the body lacks adequate water to support the aforementioned processes, which can have huge repercussions for your health. Seniors are at a greater risk than young people due to the following reasons:

  1. A decrease in sense of thirst in the elderly
  2. Compromised mobility (making them dependent on others for their fluid intake)
  3. Cognitive impairment (Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia is quite prevalent among the elderly population, which may necessitate Anthem assisted living as the condition progresses)
  4. Health issues (unmanaged diabetes or kidney disease)
  5. Medications (many older adults take regular medication, multiple even, for medical conditions, which can increase urination causing fluid loss, occurring as a side effect of medication)
  6. Common illnesses (on the lines of cold, sore throat)

Other reasons for dehydration in the elderly could be sweating in excess, diarrhea, diabetes. Again dehydration over a period of time can lead to kidney problems, constipation, seizures, heat strokes and loss of balance.

The good part is dehydration in seniors can be prevented very easily in the following ways:

  1. Make your older adult understand the importance of hydration and the significance of staying hydrated for their health, such as improved heart health and better digestive health.
  2. Encourage them to consume foods with high water content, such as vegetables, fruits and yogurt. Cucumbers, watermelons are some solid choices.
  3. Discourage them from having coffee and alcohol (and other beverages with caffeine), which can lead to frequent urination due to their diuretic effect.
  4. Ask your senior loved one to stay inside when the weather outside is hot to prevent excessive sweating.
  5. They should always be in breathable clothes for smooth air circulation, which will impart a sense of coolness.
  6. Make sure they carry a water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day no matter where they are.

Seek medical attention right away if you notice signs indicating severe dehydration, which may manifest in the following ways:

  1. Dry mouth
  2. Sunken eyes
  3. Exhaustion
  4. Muscle cramping
  5. Decreased urination
  6. Headaches
  7. Light-headedness
  8. Dark urine

Signs of severe dehydration can range from fast heart rate, inability to walk, a drop in blood pressure, severe cramping in limbs, confusion, to diarrhea or vomiting lasting longer than a day, loose skin (no elasticity), and fast breathing.