One of the health problems that should not be ignored is dehydration, this usually occurs in the elderly without any signs. Here we will talk about the most common symptoms of dehydration in the elderly. Sometimes, some of the symptoms of a person’s deteriorating health come on suddenly. These symptoms can include nausea, headache, fainting, severe pain, etc. which then creates complications. One of the symptoms of health problems is dehydration which cannot be taken lightly.
What about dehydration? Dehydration is a very complicated problem, it is related to the body’s fluid or electrolytes that are reduced and abnormal as needed by the body. Our bodies are made up of a lot of fluids, so lack of fluids can lead to dehydration which results in not functioning organs properly.
Dehydration is a common electrolyte and fluid problem among seniors, but symptoms often go undetected. So, don’t let this dehydration be your problem, to find out more about the most common symptoms of dehydration in elderly or seniors.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration in the Elderly
Most adults can easily tell the signs that point to their health including whether they are dehydrated or not. Dehydration can be detected well from a person’s urine. Urine that is large or small, dark or clear in color. Clear urine indicates that a person is well hydrated, while dark urine indicates that a person is dehydrated.
Likewise with the amount of a person’s urine. Usually a person with a lot of urine indicates that the body is well hydrated. On the other hand, someone who drinks a lot of water but has little urine can be a symptom of dehydration. However, not all urine is small (even though you have been drinking a lot of water) as a sign of dehydration but it can also be a sign of other health problems. Read our article on drinking lots of water but not urinating much!
Another major sign and symptoms of dehydration in the elderly is thirst, it is also like in other one. True, most adults are familiar with the sensation of thirst or a sign that their body needs water. But elderly people often ignore this issue and don’t care about their thirst, so it’s important for us to pay attention to other signs of dehydration as a clue to know that the elderly are dehydrated or not. Some of the other symptoms of dehydration are as follows:
- Muscle weakness
- Dry mouth
- Unable to sweat
- Dizziness or headache
- Low blood pressure
- Fast heart rate
A person is severely dehydrated if you find that he has wrinkles, sunken eyes, delirium and low blood pressure. For the elderly, severe dehydration is a serious health risk. So, those who take care of the elderly or their families must know these symptoms before coming or being experienced by the elderly.
But don’t worry, there is a simple test you can do on your beloved parents to find out dehydration. Try pinching the skin on the back of his hand and see how long it takes for the skin to return to its normal position. If the skin immediately returns to normal, then this indicates that the elderly are not dehydrated. But if after you take off, the skin still hasn’t changed to its basic position, then this indicates that it lacks fluids in its body (dehydration).
Common Causes of Dehydration in the Elderly
The cause of someone being said to be dehydrated is the loss of most of the body fluids and not getting adequate water intake. It is common for adults to become dehydrated due to neglecting to drink water or not having time to drink water due to the busyness and bustle of life today.
However, for seniors, the case is often different from this. Most seniors who have Alzheimer’s and dementia completely forget to drink water so that their bodies lose a lot of body fluids.
Flu can also be a cause of diarrhea, besides that for the elderly there are other factors that make them not drinking water such as problems with mobility. A person who cannot walk and just sits or stays in bed, often becomes dehydrated because he cannot access water himself, while he sometimes lives alone at home. This case can happen because the child leaves the house for work and so on.
Therefore, if that is the case, then you should think again to prevent the problem from happening again. As a person who loves parents, you must pay attention to what their needs are. If it is difficult to get drinking water yourself, then you have to provide it nearby so that to drink it does not need access to a far place. Do everything you can to prevent dehydration in seniors.
The risk factors for dehydration in the elderly are higher than in adults. Along with age, the water content in the body decreases in volume, so keeping seniors hydrated is important for their families so that their health does not worsen. Especially if the elderly have dementia or Alzheimer’s, then paying attention to water intake is very important because they sometimes forget to drink water.
If you live at high altitudes, you are more at risk of dehydration because there is less oxygen available at high altitudes. What is the relation? With less oxygen and rapid breathing, the body will lose fluids more quickly, making it easier to become dehydrated. The same is true for those diagnosed with chronic diseases such as adrenal gland disorder, kidney disease, alcoholism, and cystic fibrosis. So, for seniors knowledge about dehydration is important. In a survey it was stated that half of the elderly population even more that they do not know that dehydration is serious which can cause various serious diseases. Dehydration can even cause seizures, confusion and death.
Potential Complications of Dehydration
What are the potential complications resulting from dehydration. True, dehydration can also cause complications of health problems, but for healthy adults complications resulting from such dehydration are unlikely. But for the elderly, complications that may occur can also pose a big risk.
So, don’t let your parents get dehydrated. If you are dehydrated immediately give fluids and young coconut water is one of the electrolyte-rich drinking water that is good enough to treat dehydration. Why is dehydration dangerous, if someone is dehydrated, especially in the elderly, complications are very likely to occur, including:
- Kidney problems
- Heat attack
- Low blood volume
If dehydration is a dangerous thing in the elderly or seniors, then how to prevent dehydration. Below are some ways to prevent dehydration in the elderly.
Tips to Prevent Dehydration in the Elderly
Follow the tips below to prevent dehydration in the elderly
1. Educate seniors about the importance of hydration
Adults understand that they are thirsty and drink immediately to prevent prolonged thirst. But for seniors who already have dementia or Alzheimer’s, sometimes they forget to drink water and don’t remember to do it. So, you as his family must continue to prioritize hydration education for him. Provide drinking water within reach so that it is easier for him to remember it.
2. Advise to drink a little throughout the day
“A little but often” is better than a lot but not often. Do not give large water bottles to seniors, but give small water bottles for a few sips of water, but prepare more often.
3. Fill the refrigerator with foods that contain a lot of water
Don’t leave the fridge empty, but fill it with water rich foods like fruits, vegetables, yogurt. These will make seniors to eat every time they open the fridge and it’s great for keeping them hydrated.
4. Mind the weather
Sweating in hot weather can lead to dehydration. It’s the same as losing oxygen in dry air or at higher altitudes.
5. Avoid diuretic drinks
To prevent the body from becoming dehydrated, especially in the elderly, avoid giving diuretic drinks because it can remove a lot of fluids from the body.
Drinks such as coffee, alcohol are types of drinks that can increase the frequency of urination, this can worsen dehydration.
Treating Dehydration in the Elderly At Home
How to treat the elderly from dehydration? They are a group that is very often dehydrated, so it is important for us to know how to treat it if one day they experience this problem.
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To know how to treat dehydration in the elderly, we must first understand the symptoms of dehydration that are common in the elderly, then also know the causes so that it is easy for us to take steps for treatment for dehydration.
Pay attention to the symptoms of dehydration in the elderly and analyze the cause, if it is not possible to be treated at home by giving fluids or drinks, fruit rich in water and so on, you can call a health worker to your place if bringing the elderly to the hospital becomes difficult and can make the situation worse.