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What does elder dehydration look like?

Due to physical infirmities that keep them from moving on their own, many nursing home residents depend upon caregivers for water to keep hydrated. Unfortunately, the neglect that happens in some nursing homes means that elderly residents may not receive water or other liquids, resulting in possibly life threatening dehydration.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you may be able to spot signs of possible neglect in the care of your loved one by checking your relative for signs of dehydration. Healthline explains some common signs that a person is suffering from a lack of fluids.

Signs of dehydration

Sometimes you can spot dehydration from what your loved one says or does. Your relative may feel lightheaded or dizzy, have muscle cramps, or complain about urine that looks darker than it normally should. Your loved one might even have problems producing urine at all.

If your senior relative seems lethargic, dehydration might be a factor. Even if your loved one does not say anything, you can sometimes discern something might be wrong by whether your relative shows unusual fatigue or has sunken eyes or a dry mouth.

Dangerous dehydration signs

You want to spot dehydration as early as possible. If it progresses far enough or if your senior relative is already in weak health, it could lead to something fatal. Sometimes dehydration creates a prolonged period of vomiting or diarrhea, fainting spells, disorientation, or a rapid heart rate. These symptoms could indicate your relative is in danger of developing a dangerous condition like a urinary tract infection, a seizure, or hypovolemic shock.

If you catch dehydration early, your relative might be okay with drinking some liquids or electrolyte fluids. However, more serious dehydration may require hospitalization. In addition to saving the life of your relative, you might also learn that the nursing home your loved one lives in is not up to the task of providing care, prompting you to look for a new home elsewhere.

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