Dehydration is something that impacts most seniors. Experts estimate that more than 70% of seniors are at least mildly dehydrated most of the time. It might not seem like getting your senior parent to drink more water is a big deal, but dehydration can cause serious problems like dizziness which can cause seniors to fall and get hurt. Senior home care services for seniors are an excellent way to make sure that your senior parent is getting enough to drink and eat every day.
Seniors who are aging in place may not eat or drink as often as they should. When seniors have senior home care, a care provider will prompt them to drink more water, make them tea, and help with cooking so that your senior parent doesn’t become dehydrated or malnourished.
If you’re worried about your senior parent becoming dehydrated you should be on the lookout for these symptoms of dehydration:
Seniors who are dehydrated often have dry mouth. Dry mouth is a common side effect of medication, and it makes dehydration symptoms worse. If your senior parent is experiencing severe dry mouth they may need to talk to their doctor about remedies.
Dehydrated seniors may have darker urine than usual, indicating concentrated waste products. Adequate hydration usually results in light yellow or pale straw-colored urine. If your senior parent has Alzheimer’s or is unable to tell you if they are experiencing symptoms of dehydration checking their urine color is a good way to check if they are dehydrated.
Not Urinating Much
A reduction in the frequency of urination is a significant indicator of dehydration. When the body lacks sufficient fluids, the kidneys conserve water by producing less urine. If your senior parent doesn’t seem to need to use the bathroom as often, or if their briefs don’t need to be changed as often that could indicate they are dehydrated.
Fatigue and Weakness
Dehydration can lead to fatigue and weakness as the body struggles to perform its functions with limited fluid availability. Seniors may feel more tired than usual, and simple tasks may become challenging.
Dizziness and Lightheadedness
Being dehydrated can cause a drop in blood pressure and it can cause poor circulation, resulting in dizziness and lightheadedness. Seniors may feel unsteady on their feet or experience vertigo when standing up. This is dangerous for seniors who could fall as a result of being dizzy. If your senior parent is getting dizzy when they stand up try to get them to drink more water and schedule them a doctor’s appointment to rule out other causes.
Dry Skin and Sunken Eyes
Dehydrated seniors may have dry and less elastic skin. In severe cases, the eyes may appear sunken due to the loss of fluid around the eye sockets. These physical signs are indicative of dehydration’s impact on overall skin health.
Elevated Heart Rate
The heart works harder when the body is dehydrated to compensate for reduced blood volume. Seniors experiencing dehydration may have an elevated heart rate, and monitoring their pulse can offer insights into their hydration status.
Cramps and Muscle Contractions
Dehydration can result in electrolyte imbalances, leading to muscle cramps and contractions. Seniors may experience discomfort, particularly in the legs, as a consequence of inadequate fluid intake. Replacing electrolytes can help relieve these muscle cramps, but stay away from sugary sports drinks. Children’s electrolyte drinks or water with added electrolytes are better for seniors to drink than sports drinks.