Dehydration is a major concern among the elderly because its warning signs are often subtle until serious damage has taken place. When dehydration isn’t caught early on, it can lead to a myriad of health issues such as kidney failure, seizures, and brain damage. Here are a few of the most common signs of dehydration and some steps you can take to increase your senior loved one’s hydration levels.
Many people don’t realise that even mild dehydration can have a major impact on cognitive abilities. In addition to general confusion, dehydrated seniors might have a difficult time formulating complete sentences or keeping up with a conversation. As soon as you notice any of these issues, you should get your loved one to a cool place and give him or her a cold glass of water. If the symptoms persist, you must immediately take your loved one to the hospital.
Dehydration can impact your loved one’s health and overall quality of life. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while ageing in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Newcastle in-home care. Services our care workers provide include transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
Difficulty Urinating or Defecating
Long-term dehydration impacts an individual’s bowel movements and urine. As a general rule, a senior’s urine should be fairly light or completely clear and his or her bowel movements should be consistent. Certain medications can lead to issues with the gastrointestinal tract, so you should speak with a doctor if your loved one experiences difficulty urinating or defecating.
Changes in Blood Pressure or Heart Rate
Most seniors need to have their vital signs checked at least a few times a week. Even if they seem relatively healthy, it is always a good idea to track their heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Any changes to those numbers could be caused by dehydration or a medical condition. In addition to drinking more water, your loved one might also need to cut back on the consumption of diuretics. Sodas, energy drinks, soy-based foods, alcohol, and foods that are high in protein can impact an individual’s hydration levels.
Exhaustion and Mood Swings
Everyone feels tired or irritated at times, but those feelings should go away after a nap or a good night’s sleep. Ongoing fatigue and unusual mood swings can be caused by a variety of issues, including dehydration, neurological disorders, reactions to new medications, and nutritional deficiencies. Seniors who exhibit frequent mood swings should have their blood tested immediately. A doctor might suggest increasing your loved one’s intake of water or keeping him or her indoors during the hottest hours of the day.
Caring for a loved one with frequent mood swings or a long-term medical condition can be an overwhelming task. Families who find it difficult to care for their ageing loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Newcastle, NSW, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite care workers 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.
Loss of Elasticity in the Skin
A simple test to determine if your loved one is properly hydrated is to pull the skin on the back of his or her hand for a few seconds before releasing it. If your loved one is hydrated, his or her skin should bounce back immediately. While this test isn’t foolproof, it is a great way to determine your loved one’s hydration levels without taking a blood sample.
Dehydration is one of the many health challenges seniors are susceptible to. Ageing in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in home care. Newcastle, NSW, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our care workers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. To create a customised home care plan for your ageing loved one, call us at (02) 4023 8590 today.