Dehydration is a risk elderly men and women face at any time. It’s increased when the weather is hot, which makes it a big concern in the summer. Elderly people don’t always notice the signs that they’re thirsty. If dementia is a factor, they may not remember when they last had some water.
If your mom is dehydrated, urgent attention is needed to prevent serious health issues. Dehydration can lower her blood pressure and increase her heart rate. Kidneys don’t work as effectively as you age, so more fluid leaves her body. If she’s on medications, they can also increase the risk of her being dehydrated. With a lack of water in her body, organs work harder and may start to shut down.
What are the Key Signs of Dehydration?
To check if your mom is dehydrated, pull up the skin on her hand and let go. It should return to normal instantly. If it doesn’t, she needs to hydrate. Once she’s dehydrated, she may act confused or disoriented. She may find it hard to walk or move around due to dizziness. She may develop a headache.
She won’t sweat, even if she needs to, and she won’t need to use the bathroom often. Her urine may be very dark in color. Constipation happens when the body doesn’t have enough water. You may also notice her eyes appear sunken and lack tears/moisture. Finally, if she’s complaining that her mouth feels dry, she could very well be dehydrated.
How Much Should She Drink?
The old standard for hydration was eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. That’s not considered accurate anymore. Age, weight, altitude/temperature, humidity levels, and activity levels impact your requirement. On average, women need just under 3 liters of fluids each day and men need just under 4. The thing that people don’t realize is that they get some of these fluids from their fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains.
When you cook pasta, rice, or another grain, that grain absorbs some water. Fruits and vegetables and proteins like chicken or fish all have moisture. For this reason, it’s believed that about 20 percent of your water intake comes from food. If you take that 20 percent from the amount you should aim for, you get about 2 liters for women and 3 liters for men.
What Steps Do You Take if You Suspect She is Dehydrated?
If you suspect she’s dehydrated, have her sip a glass of water slowly. Don’t chug it. While she’s doing that, drive her to the hospital or an urgent care practice to be checked by a doctor. She may need IV fluids to restore proper hydration levels.
Prevent dehydration by hiring a caregiver. Senior care services can send a caregiver to spend time with your mom. She’ll have help getting meals and snacks, remembering when it’s time to drink some water or other beverage, and completing household chores. Call now to discuss senior care rates.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care Services in Laguna Beach, CA, please contact the caring staff at Canaan Home Care today!