The elderly are particularly at risk for dehydration because the body pays less attention to thirst signals as a person ages and the kidneys function less efficiently. Dehydration can lead to both mental and physical issues that make a senior uncomfortable. Look for these signs to see if your aging loved one is experiencing dehydration.
Lowered Urinary Output
A senior with enough hydration should urinate frequently and have urine that is a clear, light yellow color. When the body does not get enough water, urinary output decreases, and urine may look bright yellow, dark yellow, or even brown.
If your senior loved one needs encouragement and assistance to stay hydrated, a professional caregiver can help. Milwaukee home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
Changes in Mental State
Keep an eye on your loved one’s mental state to see if there have been any sudden changes. Dehydration causes confusion and mental fogginess because the brain cannot function properly without enough water. It can also make seniors feel exhausted, irritable, or grumpy. In more severe cases of dehydration, your loved one may even become disoriented or display an unusual amount of memory loss.
Seniors with dehydration may experience difficulty moving around. This occurs because dehydration affects both the brain and the muscles. Dehydration can cause dizziness and other coordination impairments, so your loved one might take more time and effort to move around. You might not notice this right away because some seniors just start sitting more and refuse to walk when they encounter these mobility issues.
Unexplained aches and pains are often due to dehydration. The most common type of dehydration pain are headaches, which are a signal that the brain is not getting enough fluid. Your loved one may dismiss joint pain as part of getting older, but it can actually be caused by dehydration. Dehydration causes the tissues in the body to become more rigid, so muscles may stiffen and put tension on sensitive areas like the neck and knees.
Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Milwaukee live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Skin That Stays Stiff
An easy way to test whether or not your loved one is dehydrated is by gently pinching the skin on the back of his or her hand. If the skin stays stiff instead of relaxing back to a flatter appearance, your loved one is likely dehydrated. This occurs because dehydration keeps skin cells from maintaining a proper moisture balance.
Seizures and Fainting
Severe dehydration may cause a senior to experience seizures or faintness. Though most forms of dehydration can be treated at home by taking small, regular sips of water or a sports drink, these signs of dehydration show it is beyond treatment at home. Take your loved one to the emergency room if he or she exhibits these symptoms.
To ensure your senior loved one is eating well and staying hydrated, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To schedule a free in-home consultation, call one of our professional Care Managers at (414) 964-8000 today.