It’s important to check in with seniors in your family and community to ensure they have everything they need to stay safe and healthy, especially during harsh winter months. Many seniors may be unable to get the provisions they need when temperatures dip below freezing or during inclement weather. They’re also more likely to suffer colds and sore throats, which can lead to water loss (through a runny nose, sweating or fever) and dehydration. Dehydration happens when your body loses more fluids than it takes in.
The sensation of thirst naturally decreases with age, as does the amount of water the body retains. This puts seniors at a higher risk for dehydration. Chronic problems with urinary incontinence may also lead to reluctance to drink adequate fluids. Other common causes of dehydration in seniors may be related to memory or mobility problems.
Early signs of dehydration in the elderly include:
More severe dehydration symptoms require immediate medical attention and include:
If dehydration is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications like urinary tract infections, kidney stones, kidney failure, seizures, heatstroke, heat exhaustion or hypovolemic shock.
Unless you know what to look for, it can be difficult to identify the early warning signs of dehydration. The good news is hydration can be avoided with these quick tips:
If your loved one enjoys participating in activities, encourage them to take frequent rest breaks to conserve energy and drink water.
Stay mindful of medications that can actually hasten dehydration, like diuretics, and increase their normal fluid intake as needed.
When you or someone you love is moderately or severely dehydrated, the best course of action is to replace the lost fluids as quickly as possible. That means visiting your local urgent care or doctor’s office for fluid replacement via intravenous injection or IV fluid hydration. These fluids often contain important electrolytes like potassium, sodium and glucose, which help your body function normally. An IV fluid drip involves injecting a saline-based electrolyte solution directly into your bloodstream via a small catheter, bypassing the digestive tract. This means the fluids can begin to nourish your body immediately.
You may need to hydrate with water, sports drinks or clear broth in addition to IV fluid hydration to maximize hydration. If you need help with getting fluids to a senior in your family or community, visit Coastal Urgent Care of Ruston. We are open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 7 pm and Saturday through Sunday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. for walk-in appointments. One of our experienced medical professionals will determine the best rehydration treatment for your loved one and help them feel better as soon as possible.