Dehydration is a serious concern, especially when it happens to seniors. While it may seem small, unaddressed, it can have life-threatening consequences. Everybody knows how crucial it is to stay hydrated, and it is a wonder that 40% of senior citizens living in communities aren’t drinking enough water. Because it’s not easy to diagnose, dehydration can occur for extended periods without treatment.
In this post, Bridge Home Health & Hospice focuses on the issue of dehydration—why it is an issue for seniors, what symptoms to watch out for, and how an IV drip can help address this problem:
Why Dehydration Is a Serious Issue for Seniors
When the body loses more water than it is getting, dehydration happens. The problem is that if the body is lacking the fluid that it needs to perform its many functions, then one can get seriously ill. Symptoms start to show when the body loses 2% of its body fluids.
Seniors are more prone to this problem, so it’s crucial that you know the signs of dehydration, especially if you live with the elderly. Aging weakens the body’s thirst response which means seniors may not realize they are thirsty until they reach a point where they’re already dehydrated. Additionally, because kidney function changes as one ages, seniors lose more water in their urine.
Other risk factors that put seniors at a higher risk of dehydration include:
- Certain medications
- Cognitive impairment
- Limited mobility
- Certain health conditions
Symptoms of Dehydration You Should Watch Out For
To avoid severe dehydration in seniors, you must know what the signs and symptoms are. Here are some of them:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Dry mouth
- Darker urine
- Reduced urination
- Muscle cramps
- Sunken eyes
If it is not addressed immediately, dehydration may progress and more serious symptoms could show, including:
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Complications like UTI, kidney stones, kidney failure, and hypovolemic shock (which can be fatal)
Take note that physical symptoms alone are not always a viable way to truly diagnose dehydration in seniors. The symptoms mentioned above may also be an indication of other health conditions.
When Is an IV Drip Recommended for Dehydration?
For those with mild to moderate dehydration, oral intake of water and other fluids may be enough for them to recover. In some cases, though, an IV drip will be necessary. This method of hydration may also be recommended for these situations
1 – When the Person Is Severely Dehydrated
Because IV fluids bypass the digestive system, they are more efficient than taking fluids orally and therefore advisable for cases of dehydration that are already categorized as a medical emergency.
2 – When the Person Is Unable to Drink
There may be instances when the patient cannot sit up to drink because they are either too weak or their physical condition doesn’t allow them to do so. There are also patients who have problems with swallowing. For such cases, an intravenous method of hydration is the recommended solution.
How Can IV Drips Help Seniors?
Because it is a fast-acting solution for dehydration, an IV drip can help seniors who are dehydrated. Better hydration means faster recovery from illnesses. It can also help restore bodily functions. When they are properly hydrated, their digestive health and even their heart health can be improved. The risk of falling due to weakness is also reduced.
Administration of IV fluids may be necessary if you live with a senior who often experiences dehydration. Of course, not everyone can do it and unless you are a trained medical professional, you shouldn’t attempt to do so yourself. It would be better to consider getting home health services so the elderly in your family would be provided with the care they need. Occurrences of dangerous situations like getting dehydrated will also be eliminated or at least reduced.
Bridge Home Health & Hospice is among the most reliable home health care agencies in California that can provide you with reliable home health services for seniors and patients that require home care. We are known for our fast response and patient-focused approach. Contact us today to know more about our services!