Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. When the body does not have enough water or other fluids, it cannot carry out proper digestion and other normal functions. Drinking enough fluids is essential for healthy aging, as dehydration is especially dangerous for older adults. Seniors often struggle with dehydration as, with age, some people may lose their sense of thirst. This is caused by chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and dementia, and by medication side effects. Dehydration can also be caused by immobility, as older adults may not have the physical ability to walk to the kitchen, reach for a glass or water bottle, etc.
“Thirst isn't always a reliable early indicator of the body's need for water,” according to Mayo Clinic. “Many people, particularly older adults, don't feel thirsty until they're already dehydrated.” Because thirst is not an indicator of dehydration, it's important to increase water intake, especially when living in hot climates or living with illness. Water helps the body digest food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate unused waste.
In addition to not drinking enough water or other fluids, Mayo Clinic notes that dehydration can also be caused by:
- Diarrhea or vomiting. Severe, acute diarrhea can cause a tremendous loss of water and electrolytes in a short amount of time. If you have vomiting along with diarrhea, you lose even more fluids and minerals.
- In general, the higher your fever, the more dehydrated you may become. The problem worsens if you have a fever in addition to diarrhea and vomiting.
- Excessive sweating. You lose water when you sweat. If you do a vigorous activity and don't replace fluids as you go along, you can become dehydrated. Hot, humid weather increases the amount you sweat and the amount of fluid you lose.
- Increased urination. This may be due to undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes. Certain medications, such as diuretics and some blood pressure medications, also can lead to dehydration, generally because they cause you to urinate more.
The signs and symptoms for adult dehydration include extreme thirst, less frequent urination, dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion, according to Mayo Clinic. Sometimes, drinking more fluids can treat dehydration, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment. Call your doctor if you or your senior parent has had diarrhea for 24 hours or more, is irritable or disoriented and much sleepier or less active than usual, can't keep down fluids, or has bloody or black stool.
If your senior parent is at risk for dehydration and needs assistance with living a healthy, safe, independent lifestyle in their home, call SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills. SYNERGY HomeCare’s in-home caregivers can provide transportation so that your senior parent attends doctor’s appointments, can assist with medication management and can ensure that your senior parent drinks plenty of fluids and maintains a healthy diet. Here are some tips to ensure that you and your senior parent avoid dehydration:
- Carry a water bottle with you and drink water throughout the day.
- Take sips from a glass of water, milk, or juice between bites during meals.
- Eat a cup of low-fat soup as an afternoon snack.
- Drink a full glass of water if you need to take a pill.
- Drink glass of water before you exercise or go outside to garden or walk, especially on a hot day.
- Drink fat-free or low-fat milk, or other drinks without added sugars.
- Don’t stop drinking liquids if you have a urinary control problem. Talk with your doctor about treatment.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills
SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is the name you can trust in Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange and Placentia for personal home care. SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/anaheim-hills/ca25 . The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 714- 706-1613 and [email protected] .