Monitoring Dehydration in Older People
The UK is currently experiencing a heatwave and during the summer months it is as important to look out for older people as it is during the colder, winter months. As people grow older, they will sometimes have trouble regulating their body temperatures and can be more prone to dangerous conditions such as dehydration.
For anyone who may be caring for a loved one at home, there are three main steps in monitoring dehydration in older people.
Step 1 – Physical Signs
When caring for an older relative or friend at home, it is important to look out for certain physical signs. These include . . .
- No sweat
- No tears
- Less urine
- Wrinkled skin
- Dry mouth
- Muscle Cramps
Step 2 – Mental and Emotional Signs
In addition to physical signs, there may be indicators of dehydration in people’s mental and emotional state such as . . .
- Speech and words that do not make sense
Step 3 – Serious Signs
If you detect the following signs in someone you are caring for, these are serious and you could seek help straight away without delay
- Low Blood Pressure
- Weak but rapid pulse
- Severe headache
If you are caring for an older relative or friend at home, there are a number of ways that you can help during these hotter months.
- Have drinks readily available
- Offer drinks at regular intervals and encourage visitors to do the same
- Be inventive in how else you can offer fluids – for example ice lollies, soups and smoothies
- Monitor those at the highest risk of dehydration and, if showing signs, act immediately
- Use activity sessions to promote fluid intake such as making non-alcoholic mocktails