Dehydration Dangers for Seniors & Elderly

By Annette Bratcher, 8:00 am on

During warmer months of the year, many family members may be concerned about increased risk for dehydration for an aging parent or loved one. However, dehydration is a common occurrence year round, and may be heightened by various factors including a change in medications. Because dehydration is especially dangerous for seniors and older adults, we thought we’d share some information about dehydration, its dangers, how to identify it, as well as how to prevent it in the future.

Dangers of Dehydration

Dehydration in the elderly is associated with several dangers. This can include but is not limited to increased risk for falls, decreased blood pressure and altered mental status. If not corrected, cardiac output can be affected, resulting in vital organs being unable to function properly, and in some cases, the organs can completely shut down. As the dehydration progresses, these life threatening dangers can result in loss of certain physical or mental functions and death when the problem is not addressed immediately.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of dehydration in the elderly are not always obvious; chances are, your aging loved one won’t complain of excessive thirst. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to keep a look out for visible common warning signs including dry skin, decreased urine output, constipation and waves of extreme confusion. The senior may also have complaints of dizziness upon standing. As a trusted provider of home care in Collin County, we also recommend that family members schedule an appointment with the senior’s primary care doctor to rule out any other conditions.

Prevention Efforts

There are several things that can be done to help prevent dehydration in the elderly. The first concerns a senior’s accessibility to water.  For instance, a senior with limited mobility may find it difficult to get up for water frequently. To encourage adequate fluid intake, a caregiver should always ensure that water is available. This can be done by offering drinks at various times throughout the day, or by keeping water at the bedside or in common areas of the home such as by the couch or in the kitchen. If your aging loved one does not like plain water, try flavored water. Also, your loved one may be more likely to drink if the water is cold and fresh.

If you are unable to monitor your aging parent or loved one at home, consider help from a part-time home caregiver. With hourly care services, seniors receive the care and minimal assistance they need to maintain regular routines, while their families enjoy peace of mind knowing they are in professional and caring hands. Learn more about these services by calling a Home Care Assistance Care Manager at 972-468-6010 today.