Recognizing Symptoms of Dehydration in Seniors

Recognizing Symptoms of Dehydration in Seniors

October 28, 2021

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. While dehydration is a common worry for the general population, it can lead to serious problems for older adults. Heather Glen Senior Living has detailed the symptoms you should watch for in your loved one, as well as simple ways to prevent dehydration. 

Common signs 

There are many physical symptoms of dehydration, most of which are simply uncomfortable but don’t pose a major threat to a person’s overall health. Dry mouth, headache, tiredness, fatigue, muscle cramping and sunken eyes are some early signs of dehydration. Additionally, changes in urination frequency and color are tell-tale symptoms. 

Serious symptoms 

If early signs are left untreated, they can develop into more serious symptoms—often requiring medical attention in older adults. If your loved one is experiencing increased heart rate, trouble with movement or getting around, confusion, disorientation or fainting, take them to urgent care of their doctor as soon as possible. If they have diarrhea or vomiting that lasts longer than 24 hours, this could be another sign of major dehydration. 

Dehydration complications  

Dehydration isn’t just about being thirsty or having a few uncomfortable symptoms. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications in older adults. Lack of fluids in the body can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke,especially during warmer months. Low levels of potassium and sodium from dehydration can cause seizures. The changes in urination mentioned above can lead to urinary and kidney problems, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones and even kidney failure. Lastly, hypovolemic shock is a life-threatening complication that causes a drop in blood pressure and oxygen levels due to low blood volume. 

Prevention and treatment 

The best way to prevent dehydration is simply by drinking plenty of water. While the amount of water each person needs to intake is dependent on a few factors, it’s easy to calculate just how much water your loved one should aim to drink per day—or their doctor can offer some advice. 

If the senior in your life is already experiencing mild symptoms of dehydration, water alone might not be enough to replenish the electrolytes their body needs to stay hydrated and balanced. Sports drinks, Pedialyte and drinks mixes like Liquid I.V. can help get your loved one feeling better again. Unfortunately, dehydration can get pretty severe if untreated—requiring hospitalization. 

It can be hard to keep up with the health of your aging loved one. It might be time to consider a personal care community. Luckily, Lehigh Valley area residents have an award-winning option that can help keep seniors hydrated, healthy and happy. 

Heather Glen Senior Living goes above and beyond to provide attentive care to each one of our residents, ensuring that preventable issues like dehydration are avoided at all costs. Our 24/7 care staff and on-site healthcare professionals work to build trusting relationships with residents and their families—so you can rest assured your loved one is in the best hands. To schedule a tour of Heather Glen Senior Living or learn more about community living in general, contact us today or call 610-841-4478. 

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