How Do I Know If My Senior Loved One is Dehydrated?

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BrightStar Care

For more information about the author, click to view their website: BrightStar Care

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Aug 09, 2023

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Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties , Florida - Southwest

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Summer is here, and the temperatures are climbing. It also means the risk of dehydration rises for older adults.
 
Individuals 65 and older are at greater risk of heat-related illness according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults who are overweight or have existing medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease; socially isolated people; and the poor are also at risk.
 
Dehydration in the summer heat can lead to health concerns such as heat stroke and heat stress, which are very common in the elderly. If you’re caring for a loved one, it’s important to know the signs of dehydration and how to keep them safe when it’s hot outside. 

Signs of Dehydration in Seniors

Your loved one becomes dehydrated when they use or lose more water than they take in. Without enough water, the body can’t function normally. As your loved one ages, their sense of thirst diminishes. Even when their body needs replenishing with water, they might not realize it.
 
According to the Mayo Clinic, some common signs of dehydration in an adult are:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Urinating less frequently

Many of these symptoms, such as dry mouth, fatigue, and dizziness, are non-specific and could be attributed to other medical conditions, medications, or natural effects of aging. Dehydration can lead to difficulty walking and confusion. In addition, when dehydrated, older adults may experience orthostatic hypotension – a drop in blood pressure when changing positions (e.g. from sitting to standing) – putting them at increased risk of falls.
 
It’s important to encourage your loved one to drink as much as possible. Older adults should drink six to eight cups of water daily. When it’s warm outside, they should avoid caffeinated beverages and sports drinks like Gatorade. Popsicles, Jell-O, and ice chips also can help your loved one stay hydrated. Sugar-free popsicles are available for people with diabetes. If your loved one is on a special diet, especially if fluids are restricted, ask a doctor how best to accommodate it.
 
Watch your loved one’s medications because they can increase the risk of dehydration. Diuretics, for example, while critical to treat certain medical conditions, can lead to an increased risk of dehydration. People with diabetes also need to be cautious as their risk of dehydration is even higher and comes with serious, life-threatening consequences. Consult your prescriber or pharmacist for more information regarding your medication regimen before making any changes.

Preventing Dehydration in Older Adults

The CDC recommends having your loved one stay in an air-conditioned place during extreme heat. If they don’t have air conditioning at home, visiting the shopping mall or public library for a few hours can help their body stay cooler when they go back into the heat. Check with your local health department for heat-relief shelters in your area.
 
When temperatures climb into the 90s, fans may provide comfort, but they won’t prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or wearing loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing will help your loved one stay cool. 
 
At BrightStar Care, a registered nurse oversees the care as well as provides education and support for not only the care team but the client and family as well. Our caregivers are happy to help keep an eye on your loved one’s overall health and keep them cool and hydrated.  

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Local Services By This Author

BrightStar Care of Naples & Ft. Myers

Non-Medical 28901 Trails Edge Blvd., Ste. 203, Bonita Springs, Florida, 34134

Local owner John Botsko has over 25 years of healthcare experience as a Hospital CEO as well as other Healthcare Executive positions. He was inspired to blend his skill sets and give back to the Ft. Myers and Naples communities by creating a company that raises the standard of in-home healthcare.BrightStar is accredited by the Joint Commission for Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO. We have also earned the distinction of the Enterprise Champion for Quality Award from the Joint Commission for the last 5 years in a row. (2013-2017). No other Home Care Agency in the country has been awarded this honor from the Joint Commission.This BrightStar Care agency won the Top Customer Satisfaction Award in 2017 out of all 300 BrightStar Agencies. BrightStar is committed to providing compassionate care and peace of mind to families and facilities throughout Lee and Collier counties. BrightStar serves patients of all ages, from newborn through end of life, whether its in their home, in any place of residence, or in any facility.

BrightStar Care of Naples & Ft Myers

Home Health 28901 Trails Edge Blvd., Ste. 203, Bonita Springs, Florida, 34134

Local owner John Botsko has over 25 years of healthcare experience as a Hospital CEO as well as other Healthcare Executive positions. He was inspired to blend his skill sets and give back to the Ft. Myers and Naples communities by creating a company that raises the standard of in-home healthcare.BrightStar is accredited by the Joint Commission for Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO. We have also earned the distinction of the Enterprise Champion for Quality Award from the Joint Commission for the last 5 years in a row. (2013-2017). No other Home Care Agency in the country has been awarded this honor from the Joint Commission.This BrightStar Care agency won the Top Customer Satisfaction Award in 2017 out of all 300 BrightStar Agencies. BrightStar is committed to providing compassionate care and peace of mind to families and facilities throughout Lee and Collier counties. BrightStar serves patients of all ages, from newborn through end of life, whether its in their home, in any place of residence, or in any facility.