When your elderly parent or loved one is in a nursing home or assisted-care facility, his or her well-being is your biggest concern. If you’re like most people, you do your best to keep track of your loved one’s safety, health and day-to-day care.
Would you know how to tell if your parent, family member or friend wasn’t hydrated enough, and how bad is it if to become dehydrated?
What Dehydration Does to an Elderly Person
Loss of fluid is common. It’s often a sideeffect from the use of diuretics, blood pressure medications and other treatments. It’s also common for someone to become dehydrated during and after an illness. If those fluids aren’t replaced, your loved one’s life is at risk.
Dehydration can cause:
- Thirst. Extreme thirst is an overt sign of severe dehydration. If your loved one is frequently excessively thirsty, or has a thirst that won’t quench, they could be suffering from dehydration.
- Bad breath. Bad breath can be a sign of chronic dehydration. Saliva has antibacterial properties, but dehydration can prevent the body from producing enough saliva. This can enable bacterial overgrowth, which causes bad breath.
- Dry, flushed skin. If your loved one is unable to verbalize or has difficulty communicating, you can determine whether he or she is hydrated is by examining their skin. Very dry skin that appears shriveled, lacks elasticity, and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold can mean that your loved one doesn’t have enough blood volume due to dehydration.
Limited Mobility and Dehydration
Seniors that have a tough time getting around are at higher risk of becoming dehydrated. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are guilty of neglect when it comes to hydrating our elderly loved ones.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Center on Elder Abuse, the refusal or failure to provide an elderly individual with life necessities such as water constitutes neglect.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from neglect in a nursing home, it’s okay to ask questions. It’s always a “better safe than sorry” situation when it comes to your loved one’s life. You might even want to talk to a nursing home neglect lawyer who can give you valuable insight on what’s happening.
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