Senior Caregiver Support Tip: Detecting and Preventing Dehydration
Did you know…nearly half of all older adults are chronically under-hydrated, according to a recent study conducted at UCLA? Not only that, but seniors over age 65 represent the highest category of hospital admissions due to dehydration.
Dehydration can quickly sneak up on seniors, who often have a lessened sensation of thirst, who may experience medication side effects that cause hydration problems, or who mistakenly believe that drinking less will prevent incontinence issues.
Senior dehydration can be extremely dangerous, increasing the risk for health concerns such as:
- Kidney stones and/or failure
- Blood clots
- Hypovolemic shock
- And many others
Dehydration can be detected by the following symptoms:
- Reduced amount/darker-colored urine
- Dry mouth
- Feelings of weakness, dizziness, and/or fatigue
- Muscle cramps
- Confusion and disorientation, including difficulty with walking
- Low blood pressure and weakened, faster pulse and breathing
- Stomach bloating
- Sunken, dry eyes
- Skin that is wrinkled with no elasticity
- Worsened muscle cramps and contractions, and/or convulsions
While we often pay more attention to hydration when the temperature is elevated, it’s crucial for seniors to drink sufficient fluids all year long. A simple formula to determine how much, on average, an older adult should drink each day is to divide the senior’s body weight by 3, and consume that many ounces of water. For instance, if a senior weighs 180 pounds, he or she would require a minimum of 60 ounces of water each day.
Try these tips to ensure the seniors you love stay healthy and hydrated:
- Plain water is best, but consider other sources of fluids, such as soup, juice, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid, however, sugary and caffeinated beverages.
- Place bottled water, or a small pitcher of ice water and cup, near the senior to prompt him or her to sip on it throughout the day.
- Try different temperatures. Sometimes a warmed cup of water is more soothing than an icy one. You can even try warming up juice and other beverages to see if they’re more appealing, or offer popsicles.
The professional in-home caregivers at Hired Hands Homecare are adept in creative approaches to helping seniors stay hydrated, and in monitoring fluid intake to ensure adequate fluids are consumed each day. Contact us online or call us at (866) 940-4343 to learn how we can help with professional elderly care in Pleasanton and the surrounding areas, right in the comfort and familiarity of home.