Dehydration in senior citizens
Symptoms and ways to manage dehydration
We are increasingly vulnerable to dehydration as we become older. Dehydration can seriously harm an elderly person's health and is quite common in seniors over the age of 60. Seniors who are dehydrated are more likely to suffer from urinary tract infections, kidney stones, persistent constipation, heat injury, seizures, low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock) and poor cognitive performance. Additionally, as we age, our bodies become less capable of detecting dehydration.
Dehydration in seniors can be treated if you are aware of the symptoms and know how to control them. In this article, we will be covering various signs of dehydration in seniors, its primary causes and a few treatments for this widespread issue.
Common signs of dehydration in senior citizens
Dark coloured urine
Fewer urinations than normal
Fluid loss (extreme sweating, tears)
It's crucial to watch out for these dehydration signs in senior citizens. You should not completely ignore the possibility of dehydration despite the fact that these symptoms might be indicators of another medical condition.
Common reasons why seniors feel dehydrated
Ageing: Fluid loss is a common side effect of ageing. Seniors need to refill fluids more frequently than younger individuals if they wish to stay hydrated because they retain less water.
Health issues: Dehydration in senior citizens can be caused by other medical diseases including diabetes or kidney issues. An extensive loss of fluids through frequent urination is a sign of several disorders. Seniors are more likely to become dehydrated if these fluids are not restored as their bodies do not convey a need for extra fluids.
Difficulty in communicating: Seniors are frequently less able to express their thirst or identify it when it occurs, which puts them at higher risk for dehydration. Patients who have Dementia or Alzheimer's disease usually show this, due to their inability to advocate for themselves. These seniors are more vulnerable to dehydration and developing more serious health issues.
Medicines: Some medications can cause seniors to become dehydrated. Popular medications like blood pressure medicines and diuretics can enhance urination, which might result in an increased loss of fluids. Dehydration can result from not refilling these fluids on a regular basis.
Mobility: Mobility problems limit access to water which leads seniors to consume less water than the body requires.
Ways to treat dehydration among seniors
Water is essential for maintaining hydration to have a balanced and healthy body as humans are made up of 60% water. The most vital treatment for dehydration in senior citizens is to drink more fluids, especially water.
Although boosting fluid intake is crucial, there are many more efficient methods seniors can use in addition to drinking more water. Here are a few treatments for senior citizens who are showing signs of dehydration.
During the day, consume more electrolytes and liquids
Make a note or timetable so that you remember to drink water throughout the day
Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeinated drinks as these might cause the body to become dehydrated
Include water-rich fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumbers, and celery in your diet
Importance of ORS
Merely consuming more water might not be sufficient. To maintain proper hydration, seniors must replenish the fluid and electrolyte loss in their bodies. Senior citizens can drink Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) as needed for fast dehydration relief. Always consult your doctor about consuming ORS if you have a pre-existing health condition.
Senior citizens who have chronic dehydration may develop other health issues and it can also be fatal in severe situations. Therefore, such patients must keep ORS handy, especially during humid seasons.
Although ORS is frequently presented as the first line of treatment for dehydration and diarrhoea among children, its significance in cases involving senior citizens cannot be underestimated. Seniors are just as susceptible to dehydration as children, which makes ORS crucial in most situations.