How to Determine If an Older Adult Is Dehydrated

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Chronic dehydration is a dangerous medical condition that wreaks havoc on the human body. When left untreated, it can lead to a variety of secondary health complications ranging from heart murmurs to a compromised immune system. Your senior loved one should be able to avoid most of those symptoms as long as you recognize the early warning signs and immediately take steps to rehydrate him or her. 

Delirium

One of the most important duties of caregiving is keeping an eye on your loved one’s cognitive health. A sudden decrease in mental functioning could be a sign your loved one is severely dehydrated. When the body doesn’t have an ample supply of water, it won’t be able to pump enough red blood cells to the brain. A dehydrated senior might have a difficult time figuring out a simple task or holding a conversation if he or she is dehydrated. These mental issues are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as dizziness and difficulty walking. 

Professional caregivers can watch out for signs of dehydration and ensure seniors maintain healthy hydration levels. In Palm Harbor, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Changes in Bathroom Habits

Distinct or sudden changes in a senior’s bathroom habits should never be ignored. These changes can be caused by different ailments, including dehydration. Your loved one might also claim it is difficult to pass stools or that he or she no longer feels an urge to urinate as frequently. Drinking a few glasses of cold water over the course of three or four hours might stimulate your loved one’s gastrointestinal system and resolve the issue. You must head to the hospital or contact your loved one’s doctor if the bathroom issue lasts for more than 48 hours. 

Tiredness

By the time your loved one feels thirsty, he or she might have already lost over 4 percent of the water in his or her body. Once severely dehydrated, the heart has difficulty pumping enough blood to the major muscle groups and organs. The glands might also stop producing some of the chemicals that provide energy. Instead of trying to make your loved one drink full glasses of water every few hours, it might be easier to remind him or her to take a few sips as often as possible. 

Dehydration is one of several health issues seniors could face, many of which increase the need for professional in-home care. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Palm Harbor Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

Dry Lips, Nose, or Eyes

Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth syndrome is a common oral health condition that can be caused by dehydration. Many people become so used to the feeling of dry mouth that they ignore it entirely. Be wary of any changes to the appearance of your loved one’s lips, nose, or eyes. These areas are lubricated by various bodily fluids, and your loved one won’t be able to produce those fluids if he or she isn’t drinking enough water, which is why you need to look out for issues such as sunken eyes or crust at the corners of the mouth. 

Sudden Drop in Blood Pressure

Even if your loved one has a relatively healthy cardiovascular system, you should still regularly check his or her blood pressure. Keeping track of blood pressure could help you catch dehydration before other symptoms become apparent. As you are checking your loved one’s blood pressure, also note his or her heart rate. Unless your loved one is engaging in a physical activity, the heart rate should almost always stay under 100 beats per minute.

To ensure your elderly loved one is staying hydrated and eating well, consider hiring a professional caregiver. A Palm Harbor caregiver can help your elderly loved one manage his or her health in a variety of ways. If your loved one needs encouragement to exercise more often, eat healthier foods, or socialize on a regular basis, an in-home caregiver can address these and many other health-related concerns. To create a customized home care plan for your aging loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (727) 330-7862 today.