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Dehydration: A silent and potentially deadly concern for elders

NewsNursing Home Neglect   October 10, 2016

Dehydration is a serious concern for all people, not just the elderly. It can lead to problems with hallucinations, blood pressure, confusion, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and even bed sores. Without water, humans can’t survive more than four days, showing just how vital it is to your health.

When a patient doesn’t receive water or becomes dehydrated, that’s a real problem that doctors and nurses should have been addressing long before it became an issue. Because of the medications the elderly take, it’s not unusual for them not to be thirsty or to sweat more than usual, making it important for them to increase their intake of water. These are known facts, and if your parent or loved one is left dehydrated, you likely have a case for negligence.

It’s a myth that eight glasses of water a day, or 64 ounces, is enough to sustain a person. Some people need more, and others need less. Every person has a normal state of body water that they need; more than that means the person is hyperhydrated, while less is dehydration. Since everyone is different, the elderly should be monitored for their personal needs. Tracking hydration levels, monitoring a person’s body weight and looking for signs of dehydration, like headaches or feeling thirsty, can help keep patients hydrated properly.

What are some serious risks of dehydration? Besides those listed above, people struggling with cardiac or renal (kidney) issues could find their conditions worsen when their fluid levels are down. Severe dehydration strains the heart, which can lead to a cardiac event that can, and may, kill.

Source: A Place for Mom, “Elderly Dehydration: Prevention & Treatment,” accessed Sep. 29, 2016