The summer season is upon us and more and the chance of more and more elderly suffering from dehydration increases. People taking care of the elderly, caregivers must be wary of the early symptoms of dehydration. Sometimes the older population is unmindful of the early dehydration signals such as thirst. This can make things worse leading from mild dehydration to severe dehydration.
Are you aware of the fact that the consequences of dehydration can often be serious? Seniors are more at risk of dehydration than younger adults. Dehydration can be prevented; the first step to prevent dehydration is awareness. There are several reasons why the elderly may suffer from dehydration. As we get older our bodies start losing more water, it is 60-52% in men and, it is 52 to 46 percent in women. There are other reasons why seniors start losing water. Find some of the reasons here.
What Is Dehydration?
Water is the source of life and impacts our bodily functions in more ways than one.
- It regulates temperatures
- Helps eliminates waste
- Lubricates joints
- Transmits nutrients to cells
- Initiates blood oxygen circulation
- Promotes skin hydration
- Improves cognitive function
It helps maintain the right amount of water to avoid the side-effects of dehydration as one continues to lose water because of sweat and urination, and through other bodily functions.
Signs of Dehydration in Older Adults
Experiencing thirst is only the initial signs of dehydration; you can find some of the others signs of dehydration here,
- Cracked lips
- Dry skin
- Dry mouth
- A decrease in urine frequency
Signs of Severe Deficiency in the Elderly are as follows,
- Dark-colored and/ or strong-smelling urine
- Increase in heart rate
Risk Factors for the Senior Citizens for Developing Dehydration
Several factors increase the risk for your patients as they develop dehydration. Once you start evaluating these risk factors these may help your patients recognize the signs and symptoms and minimize the risk of dehydration. A few of the factors include,
- Some conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia leading to swallowing disorders.
- Patients who are over 85 years of age.
- Terminally ill patients or patients who are bedridden
- Diarrhea, excessive sweating or diarrhea
- Having comorbid conditions
- Having multiple medications
- Urine incontinence leading to drinking less water.
Chronic dehydration is not apparent initially, but if the warning signs are not taken into account it may lead to further health issues such as constipation, kidney stones, urinary tract infection and so on.
How to Prevent Dehydration in Elderly Patients? Important Tips to follow
- Focus on sipping the water and not gulping the water down-Stay hydrated with other nourishing fluids such as coconut water, lemonade, hydrating vegetable juices and more, this is one of the most effective summer health tips for seniors.
- Drink adequate amounts of water -The Elderly must drink at least 5 glasses of water each day. Every patient’s needs are different; seniors with kidney issues should not drink copious amounts of water. Drinking adequate amounts of water can also lower rates of heart disease, so drink as per your health condition.
- Drink coffee in moderation – The seniors must avoid drinking too much coffee and other beverages such as high-protein drinks and alcohol. These increase your chances of dehydration. As it leads to a greater amount of body water loss.
- Be mindful of the signs of dehydration – Not only for the caregivers must the seniors must be aware of the signs and symptoms of dehydration such as fatigue, change of color in urine, (darker shade of yellow), dizziness, dry mouth, headaches, and cramping.
- Stay hydrated with foods of your choice – Many seniors do not like the taste of water, they can try other drinks such as flavored water, with citrus fruits, herbs, and spices, milk, buttermilk, these drinks are packed with nutrients and can help meet up with your daily water requirements. You can also try fruits and veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, and broccoli.
Here’s how you can avoid dehydration and the consequences of the same with these helpful steps. Avoid the extreme heat outside when the weather outside is harsh and unrelenting. Take care.