Dehydration is a common problem faced by our elderly loved ones
Dehydration is a serious condition, that can create many secondary complications. Getting our elderly loved ones to drink more of fluids is not easy. And it sometimes becomes a daunting task to get them to drink enough water throughout the day.
Dehydration in our elderly – causes explained
In simple terms, dehydration occurs when the water intake in much less than the fluid output. Such a phenomenon, causes the electrolyte balance inside our body to get disturbed. Giving rise to various conditions. On the other hand, young individuals can correct a normal dehydration by drinking more fluids. However, dehydration in our elderly can indicate a much more serious condition.
Factors that give rise to dehydration:
- As we age, our thirst mechanism does not seem to work as efficiently as it used to earlier. Moreover, as age advances, our elderly do not feel the urge to drink more water due to a decrease in thirst. The natural thirst response, which is a dry mouth is also not much experienced by the elderlies.
- With age, the physical activity of our elderly decreases to a great extent. Causing them to feel less thirsty. As the mobility decreases, there is less physical activity. Which does not cause loss of water through sweat, causing little water intake.
- Certain medications taken for various conditions cause dehydration in our elderly. Some of these medicines may act as diuretics. Causing the seniors to lose more water through urine.
- Illnesses and certain conditions may cause vomiting and diarrhea. This is also major causes of causing dehydration in our elderly loved ones.
Recognize the early signs of dehydration
Failure to do so can increase the risk of developing major problems, like:
- kidney stones
- urinary tract infection
- respiratory tract infection
In addition, if your loved one has to go to the hospital due to dehydration. Then it would mean an extended stay in a rehabilitation center. Noticing early signs of dehydration is difficult. however, the following list can be helpful in recognizing the condition in the early stages and taking appropriate steps.
Signs of dehydration in the elderly
- Walking becomes difficult
- Mouth and or nose becomes dry as well as sticky
- Urinary output decreases to a great extent
- Onset of constipation
- Skin turns dry and eyes sunk into
- Confusion, irritability and dizziness sets in
- Frequent headaches
- Heart rate increases and blood pressure drops
- Decrease in sweat production
- Severe cramps in legs
- Poor skin elasticity – This is very difficult to notice in our elderly. However, if you pinch their skin, and the skin doesn’t become normal immediately. This is a clear sign that dehydration has set in.
Getting our elderly to drink water, becomes a difficult task
When your loved ones drink enough fluids throughout the day, they spend less time in the toilet. This is because they do not suffer from constipation. And in the process also do not have to take laxatives, which make them dehydrated. Another key fact, by drinking eight ounces of water each day. Our elderly are at less risk of contracting a coronary disease. Keeping these benefits in mind, it is better to get our elderly drink more water. The following tips for preventing dehydration can be of help.
Tips to prevent dehydration in elderly
- Instead of consuming large amounts of water at one time. You can encourage your elderly to keep drinking water throughout the day. You can keep a water bottle nearby. So that poor mobility issues, do not restrict your aging parent to get enough water throughout the day.
- Caffeinated drinks have a diuretic effect on the body. and Therefore our loved ones should not drink them. A cup or two of coffee or tea is fine, but restrict alcohol and coffee in excess.
- Many times, the elderly do not enjoy the taste of plain water. Therefore, it becomes necessary to give them fluids in the form of milk, herbal teas, and fruit juices.
- Increase the intake of fruit and vegetables. This will improve the intake of fluids. You can also encourage the consumption of yogurt and soups to improve the daily intake of water.
- In many cases, elderly avoid drinking water due to fear of incontinence. Incontinence is a common problem of old age. And the fear of soiling one’s undergarments prevents the elderly from drinking enough water. Therefore, by addressing the problem of incontinence, as caregivers you can help your elderly loved one deal with it in a more comfortable manner. For example, drinking more water during the day and less before going to bed at night. Moreover, using incontinence – friendly undergarments would also help our elderly feel less stressful about urine leakage. In addition, you can also instill the habit of visiting the toilet before sleeping, to avoid incontinence during the night.
The above-mentioned tips can be of some help to the caregivers, to get their elderly loved ones stay well hydrated. Urging our elderly to drink more water throughout the day, may seem to be a difficult task. For more information, check out this site. Also, check out these early post to help.