Dehydration in the Elderly

With the warm weather now settling in, it is important to realize how important it is to stay hydrated especially for the elderly. Because our human body is made up of approximately 70% water, it makes sense that fluids are vital for the majority of proper bodily function such as protecting our joints, making sure our organs function well, transporting oxygen to cells and keeping our body temperature consistent. Our bodies can become dehydrated very quickly due to excess perspiration, hot weather, exposure to the sun and lack of fluids throughout the day. Simply put, dehydration occurs when an individual loses more fluids than they take in.  This is especially true for the elderly.

Signs of dehydration in the elderly are:

  • Confusion
  • dizziness or headaches
  • dry mouth
  • difficultly with ambulation
  • sunken eyes
  • rapid heart rate
  • low blood pressure
  • inability to sweat or produce tears

Severe signs of Dehydration in the Elderly are:

Some common causes of dehydration in the elderly can include:

  • Medications: some can be diuretics especially if meds are taken in combinations
    Decreased thirst: some elderly have more difficulty getting up to drink or simply forget to drink
  • Decreased kidney function: loss of function of organs increase as we age
  • Illness: vomiting or diarrhea can cause dehydration quickly in elderly

How to monitor our own dehydration can be individual, however a common rule of thumb is a weight loss of 2 or more pounds in a day can be a sign of dehydration in the elderly.

Some keys to proper dehydration:

  • Eating a well-balanced diet including fruit, vegetables and soups incorporate fluids
  • Keeping fluids next to a Senior within reach can encourage intake
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Dress properly during the hot summer months
  • Be aware of urinary output and pay attention to darker color urine or fowl smelling urine
  • When exercising be aware of sweating and replenish fluids quickly rather than waiting to feel thirsty

If you or someone you care about suffers from chronic dehydration or UTI’s associated with dehydration.  Ask for help from family first.  If family lives too far or works too often, call us to schedule a No Obligation CAREConsult™ with a Love RightCare Service Representative.

CAREConsult™ Button - San Diego Home Care - Free assessment

By | 2019-06-24T18:42:00-07:00 July 27th, 2018|Company News, Family Caregiver Advice, Health & Wellness|

About the Author:

I am a practicing social worker for over 35 years, mostly in health care. Social work has been both rewarding and challenging. The profession has allowed me to work in areas such as trauma, oncology, orthopedics, intensive care, psychiatric , hospice, maternal child health and other fields. I have taught classes, mentored SDSU students, worked with most of the larger health care companies in San Diego and recently went back to school for a certificate in school social work.

Acknowledging the need for improved resources and accessibility for the elderly, I have recently joined a home care company providing quality caregivers to clients in need, most of them wanting to remain in their own home environment with adequate supports.

Clients have taught me so much over the years. I am as excited about my work today as I was when I started and look forward to many more professional years ahead.

MaryAnn Lentini, M.S.W., P.P.S.

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