Dangers of Dehydration

During the warmest time of the year, maintaining proper hydration is crucial, particularly for seniors. As a matter of fact, approximately 1/2 of all seniors are chronically under-hydrated, as documented in a newly released UCLA study, which can result in a variety of health risks, including kidney stones, urinary tract infection, as well as a larger risk for falls.

The dangers of dehydration in seniors is linked to a variety of factors, which includes:

  • A reduced level of water naturally occurring in aging bodies
  • Medication side effects
  • Less awareness to the sensation of thirst
  • A decreased ability to maintain a proper fluid level balance in the body
  • Reduced efficiency of the kidneys
  • And more

There is a basic calculation to figure out exactly how much water an older adult should drink each day. Take the individual’s body weight in pounds, and drink one-third that many ounces of water every day. A person who weighs 120 pounds, for instance, should drink a minimum of 40 ounces of water – about five 8-ounce glasses.

Time is of the essence in ensuring hydration in seniors, as it is much simpler to correct mild dehydration prior to it becoming more severe. Symptoms include:

Minor Dehydration:

  • Decreased, darker-colored urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Muscle cramping
  • Irritability
  • Headaches

Severe Dehydration:

  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Difficulty with walking
  • Weak, fast pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Intensifying of muscle cramps
  • Sunken, dry eyes
  • Skin that is wrinkled and has reduced elasticity
  • Bloating
  • Quickened breathing
  • Convulsions

Seek medical assistance immediately in the event that you suspect dehydration in a senior loved one, to avoid significant health complications that may develop rapidly.

In the event the senior resists drinking adequate amounts of water, try flavoring the water or offering juice, if it’s an appropriate part of the older adult’s dietary plan. For those with conditions such as diabetes or obesity, the sugar content in juice may be dangerous. Sometimes, altering the temperature of the beverage can make it more pleasing as well, such as warming up a cup of water with a bit of lemon to sip on each morning, and then offering chilled water over crushed ice in the afternoon.

One of the keys is always to have fluids available throughout the day. Geriatric nurse Anne Vanderbilt, CNS, explains, “What I often see in our advanced older adults – people in their 80s and 90s – is that they can’t sit down and drink a full 8-ounce glass of water. It fills them up, causes bloating and then makes them have to run to the bathroom. So little sips throughout the day are better.”

In order to help make sure the seniors you love are staying hydrated and healthy, partner with one of the top-rated senior care companies in Concord, Live Free Home Health Care, for knowledgeable in-home care. Our caregivers are on hand to help supervise fluid intake, prepare nutritious meals, motivate seniors to stay physically active, and more for optimal health. To learn more about one of the most trusted senior care companies in Concord, contact us at 603-217-0149 for a complimentary in-home assessment and for additional information. To learn about all of the communities we serve, please visit this page of our website.