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:
- 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 Right™ Care Service Representative.