It’s crucial for family caregivers to be able to spot the signs of dehydration in seniors. Dehydration is something that you can help your elderly family member to turn around in the mildest stages. If dehydration becomes severe, your senior may need intravenous fluids in a hospital setting, and you both probably want to avoid that.
Feeling Thirsty and Having a Dry Mouth
Dry mouth and feeling a little bit thirsty are often the very first signs of dehydration. These can also be side effects from medication, though, and they might not register with your senior as quickly as they might have a few years ago. If your elderly family member starts drinking some more water at this stage, she can head off greater dehydration, but these are signs that sometimes get ignored.
Other Mild Symptoms
Other mild symptoms of dehydration start to up the ante as far as your senior’s body is concerned. She might start to have headaches or feel more tired than usual. As dehydration progresses, she might even get dizzy, experience cramping in her large muscles, and feel weak. Drinking more water can help, but if your elderly family member still isn’t getting enough water, dehydration gets even worse.
More Serious Symptoms
When dehydration is getting really severe, your elderly family member’s blood pressure drops and she might feel confused and have trouble doing simple things, like walking. If you do the “pinch test,” which involves gently pinching and releasing the skin on the back of your senior’s hand, that skin may remain raised. A properly hydrated person’s skin relaxes back immediately. Your elderly family member might also find that she’s stopped urinating, which is very bad news.
Health Issues from Dehydration Can Be Serious
In hotter months, your elderly family member might need to be concerned about heat-related illnesses and dehydration, like heat stroke. But all year round, she runs the risk of developing urinary tract infections, kidney stones and kidney issues, and the possibility of fainting and falling. Seizures and hypovolemic shock are at the extreme end of what she might experience if dehydration goes on too long.
Talk to your senior’s medical team about how much water she needs ideally. If it’s difficult for your aging family member to keep up with water intake, it may be time to bring in elder care providers who can help to ensure that she’s getting the water she needs and that she’s safe and healthy in other ways, too.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering elder care in Denver, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today. Call us at (303) 756-9322.