There are lots of reasons that your senior might become dehydrated more easily as she ages, including that her thirst response is much different now than it used to be. It’s important that you and your senior are both aware of the major signs of dehydration so that you can take quick action to help her to rehydrate.
She’s Got Muscle Cramps
Dehydration causes your senior to lose vital minerals that her body needs in order to keep functioning. Potassium and sodium are two of the most important nutrients that her body loses when she’s dehydrated. If your elderly family member is experiencing muscle cramps, that’s a big sign that her potassium and sodium levels are lower than her body requires.
She’s Dizzy and Weak
Another issue your senior is likely to face when her body is low on electrolytes, like salt and potassium, is that she quickly becomes dizzy and may even have muscle weakness. This is not a great sign because it means that her brain isn’t getting enough blood flow. Since the blood carries oxygen with it, that means that your senior’s brain isn’t getting enough oxygen.
Something else that happens when your senior’s brain isn’t getting proper amounts of oxygen is that it doesn’t function as well. That shows to someone else as confusion and difficulty solving problems and reasoning. If your senior is already experiencing other cognitive changes, like dementia, her dementia symptoms may be worse when she’s dehydrated.
She’s Breathing Heavily
Many body systems are impacted by dehydration, including breathing. Your senior may not be able to regulate her breathing when she’s severely dehydrated and that can show itself as breathing shallowly and even panting. Your senior’s pulse may also be weaker, because her body is having a more difficult time moving blood and therefore oxygen throughout her body.
She’s Not Urinating
When your aging family member doesn’t have enough fluids, her bod stops passing urine. Before that happens, her urine may appear slightly thicker than normal and it might be dark yellow or even orange in color. If she’s not passing any urine at all, that’s a very bad sign that she needs medical attention.
If dehydration is something that your senior struggles with often, it can help to have elderly care providers there with her more often. They can remind her to drink water and watch for early signs of dehydration so that your senior is able to reverse the situation easily.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elderly care in South Riding, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 782-3655
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