How Can You Tell When an Elderly Person Is Dehydrated?

Dehydration is a dangerous medical issue – regardless of age – however, it has been established that the elderly is at the highest risk for dehydration in evaluating risks among various age groups. According to statistics, up to 30% of all people who are hospitalized over the age of 65 are determined to be dehydrated.Senior-At-Risk-For-Dehydration

In nearly 2% of all cases, the underlying dehydration is the cause of the hospital admission. Finally, the rate of fatality – in terms of dehydration – is as high as 50%. Dehydration is not to be taken lightly among seniors.

If you care for or help a senior, continue reading to learn the signs of dehydration among the elderly. Learning this information could mean the difference between life and death for someone that you care about. 

What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration is a medical condition that occurs when there is a lack of water within the body. A low water content has the potential to quickly cause damage. Dehydration happens when a body loses more fluid than that which is taken in. This results in a general lack of fluids that causes the inability to carry out normal functions.

Mild dehydration may be easily reversed by the intake of fluids; however, severe levels of dehydration require immediate treatment by a medical professional. 

What Are the Risk Factors for Dehydration Among the Elderly?

There are several situations and events that place an elderly person at an increased risk for developing dehydration. These include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Fever
  • Impaired Renal Function
  • Increased Urination
  • Medications
  • Restriction of Fluid Intake
  • Swallowing Difficulties
  • Vomiting

What Are the Signs of Dehydration?

The following outlines the most commonly experienced signs of dehydration among the elderly:

  1. An Inability to Produce Sweat
  2. Bloody or Black Stool
  3. Confusion
  4. Dark-Colored Urine
  5. Dry Mouth
  6. Delirium
  7. Fatigue
  8. Feeling Either Dizzy or Lightheaded
  9. Feeling Thirsty
  10. Few or Absolutely No Tears
  11. Headache
  12. Inactivity
  13. Infrequent Urination
  14. Lethargy
  15. Low Blood Pressure
  16. Muscle Weakness
  17. Rapid Heart Rate
  18. Shriveled Skin
  19. Sunken Eyes
  20. Unexplained Tiredness

When Is Medical Care Immediately Necessary?

If you care for or are friends with an elderly person and they experience the following symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately:

  • They are experiencing diarrhea and/or vomiting and it goes on longer than 24 hours. 
  • If the person seems disoriented and/or you find that they are highly agitated or irritable, get them to a doctor right away. 
  • Being sleepier than is typical is a sign for immediate medical attention. 
  • If the person is unable to keep fluids down, does not have a desire to drink, or does not want to eat, it is best to seek medical assistance. 
  • If the urine is extremely dark or the stools are black or bloody, take the individual to a doctor. 

Additional Care 

If you are for an elderly person or are friends with a senior and you are concerned over their hydration and/or general health, it is important that you know that there are forms of assistance available. These include assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, memory care units, and skilled nursing facilities.

These residential communities ensure that seniors live their best life possible and remain healthy for as long as possible. For more information, we here at Beacon Senior Advisors encourage you to contact us today by calling: 973-713-0096

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