Dehydration is more common in older people than in younger people, but do you know how to recognize the indicators of dehydration in our loved ones? The symptoms of dehydration in aged adults can be mild at times, but not drinking enough water and fluids can have a significant impact on the body, particularly as our loved ones advance in age.
To remove toxins from the blood, our kidneys rely on water intake. Without adequate hydration, the kidneys are unable to function properly. The ability of our kidneys to filter blood decreases as we become older. This means that the effects of dehydration in older adults tend to be more severe than in younger people. Since dehydration might be difficult to detect as our loved ones advance in age, we have compiled for you some of the effects, warning signs, and tips you need to know about dehydration in seniors.
Effects of Dehydration
Heatstroke and heat exhaustion can be caused by dehydration, this causes an increase in the core body temperature, potentially damaging your organs and endangering your life.
Another result of dehydration is that it causes difficulties with the urinary system and kidneys. Water is required for the kidneys to function properly. Dehydration can induce kidney damage and possibly serious renal failure. Although acute renal failure is usually recoverable, dialysis may be required.
Another effect of dehydration is shock caused by a low blood volume. This can result in a severe drop in blood pressure, which can be fatal. Seizures are also a possible effect of dehydration due to electrolyte imbalance. This imbalance can easily cause cramps or, in the worst-case scenario, seizures.
Staying hydrated not only helps you avoid health problems, but it also helps you age better!
Warning Signs of Dehydration
The thing about dehydration is that, as a healthy adult, major complications from dehydration are rare at best. On the other hand, these potential complications offer a far greater risk for those of advanced age, if only because indicators of dehydration are typically much more difficult to detect in more mature adults than in younger ones. Often, our loved ones suffer from dehydration without their caregivers or themselves noticing it, increasing the likelihood of complications.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Excessive thirst, fatigue, and dizziness.
- A dry tongue with viscous saliva, also known as “cottonmouth.”
- Urine that is dark in color or that is only passed in a tiny volume during a trip to the bathroom.
- Little or no sweating, or tears when crying
- Arms and legs cramping.
Tips to Keep Our Loved Ones Hydrated
To make a plan for your loved ones to stay hydrated, including the following:
- If your loved one has a history of dehydration, gradually increase their fluid consumption over a week, rather than in a short period of time.
- Encourage them to drink water, along with consuming healthy foods, especially after surgeries.
- Make sure they always have access to water and drink enough throughout the day. Keep it on hand even if they are consuming other beverages, like milk or coffee.