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Dehydration And The Elderly - What Caregivers Should Know

by Amy, September 01, 2017


We all know drinking plenty of water is essential for our health, and important in avoiding potentially dangerous dehydration. If you're a caregiver in the Bay Area who cares for an aging parent or a senior client, you may wonder what the dangers of dehyradtion are to older adults and what the symptoms of dehydration may be. We've included some information we think you'll find helpful below.

When heat and humidity rise during summer months, proper hydration is important. The body loses water continuously, and when fluids aren't replaced as quickly as they're lost, dehydration occurs. In the elderly, a single episode of dehydration may not be all that serious - but if it's a chronic problem, seniors may face malnutrition, kidney failure, brain swelling, seizures, even coma or death - all complications of dehydration that can be life-threatening.

Which seniors are more prone to dehydration?

Those with diabetes, dementia, who take certain medications, or who have mobility issues are at an increased risk of dehydration. Even healthy seniors who have no serious health issues can become dehydrated, simply because of inactivity and a loss of thirst. The elderly don't conserve water as efficiently as those who are younger, either.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

In the elderly, the most common symptoms include confusion, fatigue, dizziness, excessive thirst, urine that is dark in color, and infrequent urination.

We've all heard all of our lives that it's important to drink 8 glasses of water per day. The truth is, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how much water is necessary for good hydration. Those who are extremely active or who live in warmer climates naturally need to drink more than those who are inactive and live in a cooler climate. For seniors who are fairly sedentary, two or three glasses a day is usually efficient. The key here is to set a goal for your aging loved one so you can monitor whether this goal is being met.

Keep in mind that drinking water isn't the only way to hydrate. Watermelon, tomatoes, oranges, grapes and other fruits contain a high percentage of water, and juices or flavored waters are other options. Plain water is unappealing to many of us, not just seniors!

At Care Indeed, our business is helping seniors in San Jose, Lamorinda, Palo Alto, and the surrounding Bay Area who desire to remain in their homes do so successfully. Trust our caregivers for all of your home health aide needs.