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How Serious is Dehydration in the Elderly?

Dehydration can be extremely serious to elders, especially in California. An elderly body is unable to handle extreme conditions for very long, meaning that the lack of water consumption over the course of just a couple of hours can be extremely serious – even deadly. Senior citizens experiencing dehydration may show a wide range of indications, ones that are incredibly important to take note of when avoiding the injuries that may follow. 

If you believe that you or a loved one may be entitled to compensation following the negligence of a caregiver, please reach out to a competitive San Diego elder abuse attorney at Bryant to find justice for your loved ones.

Most Common Indications of Dehydration

While it is important to look out for all signs of dehydration, there are some differences between symptoms that occur in youth versus older adults. By looking out for the common warning signs of dehydration in seniors, you may be able to prevent serious, long-term damage to their health.

  • Fatigue 
  • Weakness of muscles, especially in the extremities
  • Dry or sticky mouth, parched or cracked lips can also indicate dehydration 
  • Dizziness or disorientation 
  • Lack of sweat
  • Headaches
  • Urine that is of a darker yellow color and/or small quantity 
  • Raised heart rates
  • Sunken or droopy eyes
  • Absence of tears

An additional test exists to indicate hydration levels of the elderly. If one is to pinch the skin on the back of the hand of an elder, the slower the speed at which the skin returns to its original position, the more likely that they are dehydrated.

Effects of Dehydration in the Elderly

While dehydration can have many effects on seniors that vary in severity, all of them pose more serious risks as a result of their weakened bodily systems:

  • Seizures – The sudden attack of a convulsion, spasm, stroke, or epileptic fit
  • Hypovolemia – A condition where the volume and of blood is too low, leading to shock, fainting, dizziness, and possibly organ failure
  • Kidney problems – Issues clearing the blood of toxins and properly disposing of them into urine, causing them to be harmfully circulated through the body
  • Heat injuries – Injuries including strokes, cramps, rashes, syncope, and rhabdomyolysis

A California-Focused Approach

It is important to remember that much of California is dry and arid, specifically in the southern and central regions of the state. Many elders whose bodies are not as able to properly regulate themselves can experience a higher likelihood of dehydration than other demographics. The heat – more often in the warmer months – can ignite fevers in a senior citizen, increasing the risk for dehydration. Additionally, the elder may find themselves sweating or urinating more, causing them to lose water at a faster pace.

If giving care to a senior citizen, it is heavily recommended that water is always readily available for consumption and limit exposure to hot environments. In some cases, reminders might be necessary to stay on top of hydration. Furthermore, some experts recommend that elders prone to dehydration follow diets with foods that are higher in water content – ultimately decreasing the possibility of health concerns from dehydration. 

Reach out to Bryant for Legal Help

Joel Bryant is offering help to those that suspect that an elderly person in their family has been a victim of dehydration following the abuse or negligence of a caregiver. If you believe that they may be entitled to financial compensation, please reach out to a California elder abuse attorney immediately.