Older adults frequently suffer from dehydration and are more likely than younger adults to become dehydrated. Our bodies lose their ability to retain water as we become older. This means that the body has fewer fluid reserves.
Dehydration can also be caused by medical conditions that are more common in the elderly. These include diuretic prescription adverse effects, hyperglycemia, and diarrhea. To remove poisons 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 dehydration symptoms in older adults may be more severe than in younger persons.
Even minor things might cause significant dehydration in an older adult, such as:
- Sweating excessively
- Urination is becoming more frequent.
- Inability to move
Since dehydration might be difficult to detect in older persons, we have compiled for you some of the effects, warning signs, and tips you need to know about why the elderly should stay hydrated.
Effects of Dehydration on Older Adults
Dehydration can cause heatstroke. The core body temperature rises as a result of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. This can harm your organs and perhaps put your life in jeopardy.
One other effect of dehydration is creating problems with the urinary system and the kidneys. Water is necessary for the kidneys to operate correctly. Renal damage and even severe kidney failure can occur as a result of dehydration. Acute renal failure is usually reversible, but dialysis may be required.
Another impact of dehydration is experiencing shock due to a low blood volume. This can cause a significant drop in blood pressure, which is potentially fatal.
In addition, dehydration can cause seizures too. Electrolyte imbalance can occur as a result of dehydration. This can result in muscle cramping or, in the worst-case scenario, seizures.
By staying hydrated, you not only avoid health complications and but can age well too!
Warning Signs of Dehydration in Older Adults
Dehydration can have serious consequences, potentially putting your life in jeopardy. Here are some dehydration warning signals to keep an eye out for in a loved one. If they have any of the risk indicators listed above, pay extra care.
Dehydration symptoms include:
- Excessive thirst, fatigue, and dizziness
- A dry tongue with viscous saliva is known as “cottonmouth.”
- Urine that is dark in color or that is only passed in a tiny volume during a trip to the bathroom
- There is little or no sweating or tears when crying
- Arms and legs cramping
Tips to Keep Older Adults Hydrated
Many older adults are concerned that drinking water would cause incontinence. Remind your loved one that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Drinking water can be exciting. Come up with a plan with your loved one to keep them hydrated, which could include the following:
- If your loved one has a history of dehydration, gradually increase their fluid consumption over a week, rather than all at once.
- Encourage them to drink water even if they are not thirsty.
- Make sure your significant other drinks enough water throughout the day. Keep it on hand even if you’re drinking anything else, like milk or coffee.