Feeling thirsty? According to a study by UCLA, as many as 40% of older adults are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration is a dangerous and often overlooked condition among seniors, especially among those living with memory-related conditions. As we get older, our bodies change, and we become more prone to dehydration -- factors like reduced body water content and increased fluid loss mean we need to increase our intake of water to be healthy.
Symptoms of Dehydration in Seniors
Dehydration presents itself in many ways, potentially ways families don’t expect. Some symptoms of dehydration are easy to pinpoint, and others may be mistaken as a symptom of a different condition.
Symptoms of dehydration in seniors to look for include:
- Difficulty walking or moving around
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Dry skin
- Confusion or “brain fog”
- Cracked lips
- Sunken eyes
- Inability to sweat or produce tears
- Rapid heart rate
Dehydration may exacerbate symptoms of memory loss in residents living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, reducing their cognitive abilities, impeding their memory, and impacting their moods. It is vitally important that individuals living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease drink adequate water.
Contributing Factors to Dehydration in Seniors
Dehydration in seniors is caused by a number of contributing factors. The same amount of water a person consumes pre-retirement may not be enough as they get older, due to physiological changes in the body. Contributing factors to dehydration in seniors include:
- Decreased feelings of thirst. Studies show that with age, our feelings of thirst are less intense than when we are younger. This causes many seniors not to meet their daily water intake needs, leading to dehydration.
- Less efficient kidneys. Our kidneys become less effective at their job as we get older, meaning we need more water to keep our bodies working properly.
- Side effects from prescription medications. Many medications have diuretic effects, causing a person to lose fluids. If a person is taking medications that may increase their chances of dehydration, they should drink additional water throughout the day.
At Pacifica Senior Living, we pay close attention to our residents’ fluid intake. Our caregivers are trained to notice the signs of dehydration, providing ample water and reminders to drink throughout each day. Families are welcome to learn more about our hydration practices at Pacifica Senior Living by chatting with us below or reaching out to a community near you.
For a list of Pacifica Senior Living communities please see www.pacificaseniorliving.com