Causes, Effects, and Symptoms of Dehydration in Elderly

Everybody needs water. We are often told to drink plenty of water a day to prevent dehydration and its effects. While dehydration can affect anyone, its risk is higher in older adults. This is why it is important to know the tell-tale signs and symptoms of dehydration in elderly. Spotting the signs at the onset is crucial in preventing the adverse effects of dehydration, especially among seniors.

Why is drinking enough fluids important? Aside from the fact that no one can survive without water, drinking sufficient amounts of water and fluids help eliminate waste and toxins, digest food better, regulate temperature, maintain ones blood pressure, and other healthy functions.

Elderly and dehydration

The elderly are more susceptible to various health conditions compared to younger individuals. They have higher risks for dehydration as well. This is due to several factors associated with aging:

  • Decreased total body fluid.When people age, the amount of water reserves in their body also begin to decline With less body fluid, they are more prone to dehydration.
  • Weaker thirst response. We drink water because we are thirsty. Thirst is our bodys way of reminding us to drink water. The problem is, ones thirst response weakens with age. Hence, older adults dont often feel thirsty as they should be.
  • Decreased kidney function. As with other parts of the body, the kidney doesnt function as healthy as when we were younger. It declines as we age. This results in loss of water during urination.
  • Health conditions and taking certain medications. Water loss may be a side effect of certain medications. Dehydration may also be triggered by other underlying health conditions affecting the elderly.

Causes of dehydration in elderly

Understanding what causes and triggers dehydration in older adults is important. Knowing these causes can help you prevent dehydration. The common causes include the following:

  • Exposure to humid conditions and hot temperature can lead to excessive sweating, which can result in increased fluid and water loss in the body.
  • Fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and other illness may also cause dehydration.
  • Mobility problem, which is common among seniors, can also result in decreased water intake. This happens when seniors have difficulty getting water by themselves.
  • Underlying health conditions like kidney disease and diabetes can also cause dehydration.
  • Certain medications can cause increased urination as a side effect. This leads to increased fluid loss, which when not prevented, can result in dehydration.

Side Effects and Symptoms of Dehydration in Seniors

Dehydration in the elderly should not be taken lightly. It can lead to serious consequences, which can result in frequent hospitalization and health complications. Even in cases of mild dehydration, the senior can still be seriously affected. Mild dehydration is associated with lack of concentration and attention, reduced reaction response, and memory impairment.

Dehydration can cause fatigue and exhaustion as well, which increases the seniors risk of falls. Additionally, dehydration can cause itchy skin, dry skin, pressure sores, and other skin problems. It has been linked to the increased mortality rate among seniors with stroke. It affects kidney functioning, which when left untreated, can result in serious kidney problems.

Other effects, symptoms, and signs of dehydration in elderly include:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle cramps
  • Darker urine
  • Less urination
  • Sunken eyes

In severe and more serious causes, dehydration can cause:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty moving and walking
  • Rapid heart rate

Preventing dehydration

Now that you know the symptoms and effects of dehydration, it is easier for you to prevent it. The key is to stay hydrated. These are some tips you can follow in order to prevent dehydration:

  • Drink as much water as you can throughout the day. Take small sips if you find it hard to gulp down too much water. Dont wait for you to get thirsty. Other fluids like fruit juices, flavored water, and low-sugar milk are also great for hydration. Dont drink too much tea and coffee.
  • Eat foods with high water content. These include watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, and celery.
  • Put lime or lemon on your water if you are not fond of drinking pure water.
  • Drink more water than usual when you go exercising or you go out in hot weather or humid conditions.
  • Hire a caregiver that will provide personal care services for the person you love.

If you are taking care of a senior, see to it that they drink plenty of water in a day. Here are what you can do:

  • Place water within easy reach from the senior.
  • Constantly remind the senior to hydrate.

Knowing and understanding the dehydration effects, signs, symptoms, and causes are essential in its prevention and treatment. The key is to replace the lost fluids. Keep hydrated throughout the day. Drink plenty of water and other nutritious liquids, and incorporate foods with higher water content in your daily diet.

Mental Health and the Elderly: Understanding and Dealing with the Issue

Mental health is a common concern among older adults. In fact, it is more common than you think. The problem is, people tend to dismiss the problem. Understanding the correlation between mental health and the elderly is important in order to deal with the issue.

It shouldnt be merely dismissed since mental health issues can also affect the overall well-being of the person, which can result in the deterioration of physical health, especially when compounded with chronic diseases common to the elderly.

Mental illnesses in the elderly: Why are they not often addressed?

While mental health is common among older adults, it is often not addressed. This is partly because the signs may appear subtle, or that the symptoms are often just attributed to other non-mental health conditions associated with aging.

Older adults also have the tendency to keep the symptoms to themselves. They dont go complaining about their mental issues. This may be due to the stigma often attached to mental illness.

That is why, if you are taking care of an elderly, it is important that you have a basic understanding of mental health among seniors and older adults.

Health issues common to the elderly

The elderly are more inclined to report physical health problems than mental or psychological ones. This makes diagnosing and, more so, treating the seniors health problem quite challenging. Since mental illness may be triggered by physical stress and certain conditions, it is important to know what these are.

These possible triggers include:

  • Chronic illness
  • Chronic pain
  • Physical disability
  • Physical impairment affecting memory, thought, and emotion
  • Solitude and loneliness
  • Major life changes

Signs of Mental Illness in the Elderly: What to watch out for

We often associate forgetfulness with aging. However, forgetfulness is not the same as memory loss, anxiety, depression, and other cognitive problems. Often, these are signs of a far serious mental issue.

Since most elderly wont likely tell you if they experience the early signs and symptoms, it is important that you keep an eye on them yourself, whether you have an elderly family member or you are a caregiver. The warning signs that you should watch out for in mental health of older adults are:

  • Persistent depressive and suicidal thoughts, feeling of immense sadness and hopelessness.
  • Trouble sleeping or staying asleep, or the opposite, which is too much sleeping.
  • Change in mood, energy level, or appetite.
  • Having difficulty feeling positive emotions.

Common mental health illnesses among seniors

To have a better understanding and to efficiently deal with the issue, here are the mental health illnesses common in older adults and seniors:

  1. Depression

The most common mental health concern among the elderly is depression. This type of mood disorder affects older women more than older men. If left untreated, it can impede social functioning and can lead to other mental and physical impairments. Depression can even interfere with and worsen the seniors chronic health problems.

The common symptoms include:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Physical discomfort or pain
  • Distancing from things you previously normally enjoy
  • General feeling of slowing down

Its also important to know the risk factors as well for late-onset depression. These are:

  • Widowhood
  • Physical illness
  • Drinking problems
  • Diminished functional status
  • Lack of education

Hence, if you noticed any of the signs and symptoms of depression in your loved one or client, immediately seek professional help.

  1. Anxiety Disorders

Another common illness is anxiety disorder. Statistics tell us that anxiety disorders are associated with depression. These are the risk factors to watch out for:

  • Sleeping problems
  • Poor health
  • Stressful or traumatic event
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Physical impairments
  • Alcoholic and drug abuse
  • Chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and thyroid problems
  1. Bipolar disorders

Bipolar disorders are marked by sudden and irregular mood shifts. The problem is that these are often misdiagnosed among older adults because some of its symptoms are also common in aging.

Here are symptoms of late-onset bipolar disorder you should watch out for:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Psychosis
  1. Eating disorder

Eating disorders are now becoming prevalent among seniors. These disorders may include anorexia nervosa or bulimia, which are often undetected among older adults. This is why its important to know what signs to watch for, which are:

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness and anemia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Slow healing
  • Chronic dizziness
  • Memory deficits and cognitive decline
  • Decreased food intake

With all these mental concerns and psychological problems in old age, it is important to watch out for any signs that may be crucial in the early detection and treatment of the illness. Keep an eye on your client or loved one, and be ready to seek the necessary professional home care help when needed.

Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Help: Identifying Them and Taking Action

Your parents have taken care of you all your life, and now youre thinking, I need help with my aging parent. Theyve probably even helped you during your young adult years. As they age, the tables begin to turn, and it may be time to start caring for elderly parents.

In the beginning, the field of senior care services is unknown territory. With no one to guide you, it can be difficult to know where to look for help. Many adult children quickly feel like theyre out of their leagues.

Its common for concerned family members to have trouble navigating senior care services. When it affects your parents, you need insight and guidance when you see signs that your aging parent needs help.

How to Identify That My Older Parents Need Help

Aging slows people down, and often, it becomes more difficult to care for themselves and their homes. You may notice warning signs over time or all at once. If the lightbulbs are burned out and theyre not being replaced, the lawn is unkempt, and the exterior paint is peeling, its time to think about the fact that your older parents need help.

Any number of signs could show that things arent going well at home for your parents. They may not be willing or even able, to tell you that theyre no longer able to keep up with things. The important things are to keep a keen eye, communicate about your observations, and seek help when you need to.

Caring for Elderly Parents

Youre better acquainted with your parents habits and lifestyles than anyone else. Whats commonplace for someone else, may be an area of concern for your parents. Checking up on your parents is more important than ever since the onset of COVID-19. Quarantining and isolation in the name of health separates seniors from society even more than normal.

How to Spot That You Mom or Dad Needs Home Care

When you spend time with your parents, if something seems off, it probably is. If the issues on the following list sound familiar, your parents probably need home care:

  • Late or collection notices in the mail or utilities being shut off
  • Appliances that dont work and theyre not cooking or eating.
  • Mood changesmild or extreme
  • Home is cluttered and garbage is building up
  • Not keeping up with laundry and cleaning
  • Signs of fatigue or depression
  • Clothing is torn, worn, dirty, or ill-fitting
  • Moldy or unsanitary food in the refrigerator
  • Misplacing keys or wallets
  • Forgetting to take medications
  • Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Missing doctor appointments or other activities
  • Noticeable weight loss without reason
  • Poor hygiene or body odor
  • Difficulty walking or frequent falling
  • Frequent injuries or bruising
  • Dents or damage to their car or car accidents

What do you do when you notice some of these issues with your loved ones? To begin with, open up a conversation about it, as tough as that may be. After getting the issues out in the open, the next conversation should center around their needs.

Assess Your Parents Needs

Seniors needs fall under several different categories. That makes it very challenging to make a list of the issues they need help with.

Get out a notebook and write these headings down.

  • Safety at home
  • Medical or medication needs
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Mobility
  • Hygiene and personal care-bathing, dressing, etc.
  • Shopping, cooking, and meal preparation
  • Transportation
  • Companionship

Try to have an honest conversation about specific tasks that they need help with. Dont forget that family members need support as well.

Finding Help for My Loved One

Taking the first steps toward getting help can be extremely overwhelming. Learning what services are available will help to relieve you of much of your fear and anxiety.

This partial list of senior services should give you some encouragement.

  • Senior care managers-They have vast experience in the senior care industry. Theyre typically well acquainted with senior care services. Their experience could save you a lot of anxiety and frustration.
  • In-home care-Hiring a caregiver to come in and provide some type of senior care help.
  • Assisted living-Senior living communities often offer varying levels of care from minimal care to advanced care and everything in between.
  • Geriatric physicians-Doctors that care for seniors with age-related conditions.
  • Area Agency on Aging-This is an agency thats funded by federal, state, and local governments that provides senior care services at the county level. Its a good place to start to learn more about the senior care services and how to access them.

Watch for signs that your parents need help and take a few steps to put the right help in place. The right care may be more available than you think.

 

 

What Is Home Care and What Types of Home Care Are Available?

Home caregivers are also referred to as home health aides. If youre a senior or someone else that needs some extra help, home caregivers can make your life easier and more enjoyable.

Many different services fall under the topic of home health care. A caregivers duties likely offer more options than you might think. If you need some extra help, its worthwhile to check into it sooner rather than later.

What Is Home Care?

Home care is defined as any type of professional care or support that makes it possible for people to live in their homes safely.

Most often, seniors and others that need help hire home care for these reasons:

They need help with activities of daily living (also known as ADL).
Theyre living with chronic health issues.
Theyre recovering from surgery or another medical condition.
They have a physical or mental health disability.

You can schedule home care for a short period or for long-term. Home care can often make the difference between having to live in a nursing home and staying home.

To give you a snapshot of the scope of home care services, see these statistics:

70% of people turning 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care.
Home care isnt just for seniors12 million people receive home care in the U.S. every year.
Over 33,000 home care agencies provide care in the U.S.
1.5 million people currently work as home care workers.
Home care is $465 billion per year industry.

What Types of Home Care Are Available?

Depending on the type of assistance you need, you can choose from a variety of services. Some of them require training and certification and others dont. When hiring caregivers, its important to get their job description and learn the type of care that theyre supposed to give, as well as the type of care theyre not permitted to provide.

Caregivers often spend a lot of time with the people theyre assigned to care for. Its essential to choose caregivers carefully. Good caregivers tend to be naturally caring and compassionate individuals.

Types of Home Care Services and What to Expect:

Skilled nursing care-records vital signs, assists with medical equipment, feeding, medication reminders. May also help with errands, light housekeeping, and meal preparation.
Occupational therapists-help ill or injured people improve the skills they need for living and working.
Companion care-provides company, may drive them to social activities, gives them someone to talk with to prevent loneliness.
Personal care-helps with bathing and dressing, preparing meals, light housekeeping.
Hospice care-provides physical care and emotional care during the final stages of life.
Palliative care-special medical care for people living with a serious illness. Palliative caregivers strive to help them get relief from pain and be more comfortable to enjoy a better quality of life under the conditions.

Be aware that you can always scale home care services up or down depending on your needs. Home care services can make a major impact on the happiness and quality of life for seniors and others that need help. Taking the first step to explore your options will give you much-needed relief. You have nothing to lose by checking it out.

How to Take Care of an Elderly Person After Hospitalization

Hospitals are releasing patients as soon as they can because of insurance or other reasons. While elderly patients might meet the criteria for discharge, they might not be physically or mentally ready to go home when theyre told its time.

Out of worry and concern for a loved one, many families find themselves darting around at the last minute to find after-care and rehabilitation resources to ensure that a patient doesnt have a setback.

Getting the right care after hospitalization can aid an elderly person in their recovery and help make them stronger and healthier.

Making a Smooth Transition from the Hospital to Home

Under the best of circumstances, elderly people are vulnerable. After a hospitalization, elderly people have many old and new health matters to contend with like:

  • Reduced mobility
  • Risk of falling
  • Risk of infection
  • Medication mix-ups
  • Side effects from medications
  • Complications from surgery or other treatments

In addition to these health risks, elderly people need to get back into a routine of healthy eating and exercise. That doesnt usually happen right away, but its always a goal.

Seniors need a special diet after being charged from the hospital.

Its important to help an elderly persons bodily systems get working again and the right diet helps seniors with digestion and blood circulation.

There are over 2 million Medicare recipients in the U.S. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 20% of people that get discharged from a hospital get readmitted sometime later. Many of them get worse before theyre readmitted.

Here are some tips for things you should consider as part of hospital discharge planning for elderly people.

  • Type of equipment neededcanes, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, etc.
  • Setting up the homeremoving rugs, adding grab bars, rearranging furniture, etc.
  • Bringing in a hospital bed
  • Arranging for visits from a nurse, OT, PT, or other home care services
  • Arranging transportation to medical appointments

Types of Help an Elderly Person Needs After Hospitalization

The hospital may be able to help you set up some of the after-care needs for discharge planning but be aware they may not be able to arrange for all the services you need. Home care services can fill the gap in services that you need after hospitalization, and longer if necessary.

Here are some of the needs that elderly people commonly need after surgery or hospitalization:

  • Help with safe transfer and mobility
  • Medication reminders
  • Meal preparation
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Taking detailed notes for family
  • Bathing and personal hygiene
  • Exercise
  • Companionship

At the time of admission, the hospital may discuss discharge planning. If they dont, it will be up to the elderly person or their family to make sure everything is in place for continuing care.

At the end of a hospital stay, it will ease your stress if you have a detailed plan for how to manage things when its time to bring an elderly patient home. A smooth transition to the home environment will facilitate recovery, prevent infections and illnesses, and give everyone involved the confidence to move forward safely.

Most importantly, by enlisting the help of a home caregiver, you may very well prevent an elderly person from having a setback that takes them back to the hospital.

What Can Seniors Eat After Surgery to Recover Fast

A surgical procedure is an invasive procedure and most people wonder what to eat after surgery. Thats a good question for seniors that are facing surgery to ask because good nutrition will help them heal more quickly. The doctor will advise when a senior can begin eating again after surgery. A healthy diet will reinvigorate the bodys systems and stimulate the bodys natural healing.

 

Planning for a diet that includes a good selection of foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals will help to repair damaged tissue and stimulate cell growth. Healthy food for seniors after surgery

includes a nutrient-rich diet, along with 6-8 glasses of water. These choices help to prevent some of the common post-surgery problems such as dehydration and constipation. Healthy food for seniors after surgery includes lean protein and foods with lots of fiber.

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Healthy Food for Seniors After Surgery

 

Doctors prescribe a healthy diet for seniors after theyve had surgery. When they get home, they need to prepare meals for themselves or have someone else prepare meals. Its important to know what to eat after surgery to decrease inflammation.

 

If youre wondering what to eat after surgery with anesthesia, the following foods are healthy choices:

 

  • Milk kefir-after surgery, physicians usually give seniors antibiotics to help prevent infections. Antibiotics also help to destroy harmful bacteria in the digestive system. Seniors may avoid problems like constipation and diarrhea.
  • Citrus fruit-a seniors supply of collagen drops severely when theyre injured or under stress. Vitamin C is helpful for restoring collagen in an aging body. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits contain vitamin C. Add citrus fruits to meals to aid the healing process.
  • Fatty fish-fish contains healthy fats and they help to break down vitamins in the body so they can be used more efficiently. Seniors that eat cod and Alaskan salmon will have an easier time with digestion. Fatty fish products contain omega-e fatty acids which also help reduce inflammation.
  • Berries-after surgery, molecules called free radicals grow and may attack damaged tissue in the days after the procedure. Antioxidants are complex substances that protect against free radicals. Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are good sources of antioxidants.
  • Whole grains-whole grains are a good source of carbohydrates which provide a good source of energy and build muscle tissue. Quina, whole wheat products, and oats are good whole grain choices.
  • Red meat-amino acids help to create new cells after surgery. Red meats, especially meat from grass-fed cows that havent been injected with hormones are a good source of nutrient-dense meat.

What to Eat After Surgery to Avoid Constipation

 

Fiber is an important ingredient in everyones diet because its instrumental in preventing constipation which is a common problem after surgery. Constipation can be painful and it can increase the potential for medical attention during recovery.

 

If youre wondering what to eat after surgery to avoid constipation, here are some good high-fiber food choices:

 

  • Whole grain bread
  • Corn
  • Oatmeal
  • Fruits
  • Vegatables
  • Cereal such as oatmeal or cream of wheat

 

Drink Water to Keep the Senior Hydrated

 

Replacing lost fluids also helps a seniors body to heal itself after surgery. Small amounts of water isnt sufficient. Try adding herbs or a little lemon to take the boredom out of plain drinking water.

 

Foods to Avoid After Surgery

 

Its just as important to know what not to eat after surgery as it is to plan a healthy post-surgical diet. Certain foods will increase the potential for constipation. Constipation can be painful and put pressure on a seniors incision.

 

Heres a list of foods to avoid:

 

  • Dried and dehydrated foods
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Cheese
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Sweets and sugary foods

 

Losing Appetite After Surgery

 

Constipation or nausea sometimes causes a loss of appetite after surgery. Its for seniors to eat even if they dont feel like it. Calorie-dense foods such as smoothies made with yogurt and fruit will help to provide energy and boost calories. Protein shakes are a good choice when youre looking for what to eat to decrease nausea.

 

Recovering from surgery is challenging at any age, but its especially difficult for senior adults. Seniors need to take special care with their diets to aid in the healing process and regain their strength.

 

At-Home Care Services provides in-home caregivers to ensure that seniors are getting the proper nutrition after surgery. We provide professionally trained and certified caregivers to care for seniors after surgery and longer if they need it. Hire a caregiver today for in-home care needs for seniors after surgery.