Older adults are at risk for many maladies, including dehydration. Anyone can become dehydrated, but the effects can be particularly damaging to the elderly.

Severe dehydration can lead to many serious conditions, including:

In this article, we’ll address the root causes of dehydration in seniors, but let’s first look at the symptoms so you can get your loved one help if needed.

The Symptoms of Dehydration

Some common signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Sunken eyes
  • Less frequent urination
  • Urine that is darker in color than normal
  • Muscle cramping
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy

There are more severe symptoms of dehydration that require immediate medical attention when spotted. They include:

  • A rapid heartbeat
  • The trouble with walking or movement
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting or diarrhea lasting longer than 24 hours

As you can see, symptoms can range from mild to serious. Fortunately, there are ways you can help your loved one stay well hydrated.

7 Tips to Prevent Dehydration in Seniors

Seniors can stay well hydrated by:

  1. Drinking water throughout the day. Other beverages that may aid dehydration include flavored sparkling water, milk, and fruit juices low in sugar.
  2. Take small sips to avoid drinking too much liquid all at once.
  3. Including foods in their diet high in water content, such as watermelon, celery, cucumbers, strawberries, and low sodium soups or broths.
  4. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime if they don’t find water very appealing.
  5. Drinking more water when going outside in hot or humid conditions for a prolonged period of time, or if they’re going to be exercising.
  6. Drinking more fluids than normal if they’re ill with symptoms like vomiting, fever, or diarrhea.
  7. Consult with their doctor about their specific hydration needs if they have underlying health conditions.

If you’re a family caregiver for an aging adult, you can help prevent dehydration by reminding them to hydrate throughout the day, keeping water where it’s easy to reach and accessible, and having easy access to the bathroom if making it to the toilet on time is a concern.

Treatment Options for Seniors With Dehydration

Because dehydration is caused by a loss of fluids in the body, replacing those fluids is paramount to a senior recovering from dehydration. This includes drinking water or other liquids, like juices or broths.