Watch for Dehydration in Your Older Relatives and Friends

It’s important to make sure older adults drink enough water every day.

Older people often do not feel thirst as quickly as a younger person does. Older adults who have difficulty communicating, should be watched for the signs of dehydration because they cannot communicate their thirst to caregivers.

If your older adult needs assistance to drink, make sure that you have glasses that are not too heavy, or too difficult to hold, and straws are sometimes ncessary to facilitate drinking without choking.

Medications such as diuretics which are commonly prescribed to older adults, can lead to dehydration.

Older adults who have a sudden change in behavior, especially if they become non-communicative, should be evaluated for dehydration. All too often dehydration is misdiagnosed as dementia.

Make sure your older adult drinks at least 8 glasses of 8 ounces of fluids a day, even if it means more trips to the bathroom. Good urine output is a sign that dehydration is being reversed.

Dehydration in older adults can be deadly. Once organ failure sets in, approximately 50% of older adults will die from it.

Drink up! Push the fluids. Save your older relative or friend’s life.

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