Your elderly family member may be at far greater risk of becoming dehydrated than you realize. When you understand the different risk factors that can affect her, you can do something about them for her.
Decreased Sense of Thirst
Your elderly family member might not recognize thirst the same way now that she did when she was younger. When that happens, she might not realize that she needs to drink a little bit more. One way around this is to encourage her to sip fluids throughout the day.
Some illnesses can cause dehydration very quickly, especially if your elderly family member has a fever or she’s experiencing a loss of fluid through vomiting or diarrhea. Treating the illness often helps to deal with the dehydration, but it’s important to keep tabs on your senior’s fluid intake when she’s sick.
Medication Side Effects
Medications can also have something to do with dehydration. Some, like diuretics that she might take to help with high blood pressure, can cause her body to release more fluids than she realizes. If she’s not balancing that by drinking more fluids, she can run the risk of becoming dehydrated.
She Just Forgets
Some people just don’t think about drinking fluids during the day. Your senior might drink while she’s eating, but forget about it the rest of the day. If she has memory problems, though, that can complicate things a little bit more. It might be time to try finding some ways to build reminders to drink throughout her day.
Her Mobility Is Hindered
One big factor that you might not think about could be your senior’s mobility. If it’s not easy for her to get up and get something to drink, she may just opt not to worry about it. The flip side of that could be that she is thirsty, but that she doesn’t want to run into an emergency about getting to the bathroom in time. Both of these issues are fixable, but you need to know that they’re an issue for her.
If you’re not sure what’s causing your senior to be dehydrated, you might be having a tough time finding a solution that works well for her. Senior care providers can help you to narrow down potential causes based on behaviors they witness and they can also help you and your senior to find ways to help her get the fluids she needs.