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How Does Dehydration Affect the Elderly?

Dehydration is always a concern this time of year, especially for seniors who are more vulnerable to serious health problems. While thirst and fatigue are the most obvious signs of dehydration, not drinking enough water can have some rather odd effects on the body.

Memory Loss
The human brain is approximately 85 percent water, which is one reason why foggy thinking and memory lapses could be the first sign of dehydration. Toronto senior home care professionals stress that all seniors should drink the recommended amount of water each day, particularly seniors facing cognitive decline.

Bad Breath
Seniors who brush their teeth yet still have bad breath may have dehydration to blame. When dehydrated, the body will produce less saliva and that can create the perfect breeding ground for foul-smelling bacteria.

Flushed Skin
Most people associate pale skin with dehydration. However, the body may attempt to compensate for skin dryness by increasing its blood flow. At this point, many people attempt to cool the skin by applying cold, wet rags. However, a tall glass of water is the body really needs.

Food Cravings

The digestive system depends upon water to provide the fuel it needs to convert food into energy. When this process is disrupted, people may find themselves craving foods, especially sweets.

Headaches
A fluid-filled sack sits around the brain and cushions it from hitting the skull during movement. If this fluid gets low, a person may experience a headache due to the pressure on his or her brain. Fortunately, hydrating can ease the pain.

Anxiety and Depression
Water plays a role in the regulation of hormones. When these are disrupted, a person may experience more anxiety and depression. For those whose anxiety is triggered by body sensations such as a rapid heartbeat, the effects of dehydration may be even more pronounced.

If you’re concerned about your senior loved one staying hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet during the summer months, consider a Toronto hourly care provider like Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can run errands, grocery shop, cook, clean, assist with transportation, personal grooming, and mobility, and offer companionship, which is often the biggest reason seniors don’t eat or drink enough. To learn more, give us a call at (416) 488-8777 and speak with a friendly Care Manager.