Dehydration occurs when a person loses more water than they take in. Adequate fluid allows the body to regulate temperature through sweating, maintain blood pressure and eliminate bodily waste. If severe enough, dehydration can lead to confusion, weakness, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, bedsores in bed-ridden patients or even death. Generally speaking, humans can’t survive more than four days without water.
Causes of Senior Dehydration
Elderly dehydration is especially common for a number of reasons:
It’s not uncommon for seniors to be on several medications at any given time. Some of these may be diuretic, while others may cause patients to sweat more.
- Decreased Thirst
A person’s sense of thirst becomes less acute as they age. In addition, frail seniors may have a harder time getting up to get a drink when they’re thirsty, or they may rely on caregivers who can’t sense that they need fluids.
- Decreased Kidney Function
As we age our bodies lose kidney function and are less able to conserve fluid (this is progressive from around the age of 50, but becomes more acute and noticeable over the age of 70).
Vomiting and/or diarrhea can quickly cause elderly dehydration.
Buy a small, lightweight pitcher. Keep it filled with water at all times in a convenient place for your loved-one to get at. Remind them periodically about drinking plenty of water and where the pitcher of water is located. Staying adequately hydrated can ward off a number of different ailments like headaches, sleeplessness, and appetite suppression. It’s great for overall health and well being.