Dehydration refers to the condition where we keep losing more fluid than we take in such that our bodies do not have as much fluid within cells and blood vessels as they should. The condition is common among the elderly population for reasons that have a lot to do with aging.
Some factors that put older adults at risk include:
- Urinary continence and similar related issues
Seniors feel reluctant to drink a lot of fluids due to chronic problems regarding continence or the ability to control movements of the bowels and bladder.
- Memory issues
Seniors may forget to drink often or enough due to memory problems.
- Reduced thirst signals
Seniors have decreased body mechanisms that protect themselves from dehydration.
- Mobility problems
Seniors may find it difficult to get something to drink or may feel reluctant to ask others for it because of limitations in their movement.
Aside from these, dehydration may also be brought about by conditions that are not unique to aging such as chronic illnesses, swallowing difficulties, hot weather, fever, and medication management issues and side effects, among others.
Per our providers of healthcare training classes in Lynchburg, Virginia at Raspberry Hill Adult Daytime Center, one of the best ways to go about reducing these risks of dehydration among the elderly population is through a combination of fluid monitoring and encouragement.
This approach works because it goes beyond the surface causes of dehydration and looks into the perspective of an older person on the situation. Thus, instead of pressuring your senior loved ones to drink more, taking care to discuss how they see the situation will better equip you to assist them.
Here is what this looks like in practice:
- Be sure to offer your senior loved ones their preferred beverages.
- Encourage, do not pressure, your senior loved ones to drink regularly or on schedule.
- Do not force or expect your senior loved ones to drink a large quantity in one sitting; instead, offer small-to-moderate quantities only.
- Make sure to address any underlying condition, such as continence issues, that may affect your senior loved ones’ willingness to hydrate often.
- Keep a record of their liquid intake to improve and fill in gaps in their habits.
To be clear, these measures are not foolproof ways to prevent dehydration. That said, these are good first steps to minimize senior loved ones’ risk for dehydration. We practice this approach at our own adult daytime center in Forest, Virginia so we can vouch for its effectiveness.
Our adult day services in Virginia ensure proper dietary and fluid intake monitoring through proactive health education and counseling for both patients and family members. For more information about our preventative services, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
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