Dehydration can be an extreme health risk at any age. Still, according to the Cleveland Clinic, elderly individuals are particularly in danger due to normal changes in body composition. They may also consume fewer fluids due to medical conditions, medications and even their environments.
If you have an elderly loved one who lives in a nursing home, you depend on nurses and others to provide access to water and other liquids. Regrettably, due to staffing shortages or for other reasons, that may not happen.
A special approach
Caring for senior citizens often requires developing personal care plans. When preparing the plan, nursing home professionals should consider the resident’s risks and needs. If your loved one has a history of dehydration or resistance to drinking fluids, nurses may need to pay special attention to his or her hydration needs.
When you visit your relative in the nursing home, you may want to watch for signs of dehydration. After all, dehydration can turn deadly quickly. Here are some early symptoms of dehydration in nursing home residents:
- Excessive thirst
- Dry skin or lips
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bad urine odor
- Dizziness or confusion
A prevention strategy
If you notice your loved one may be suffering from dehydration, you may need to ask nurses at the nursing home to intervene. The problem may be simple, such as a dislike of water or other available fluids. On the other hand, nurses may be failing to monitor your relative or even intentionally abusing him or her.
Dehydration may be one of the earlier indicators of nursing home neglect. Ultimately, if you cannot resolve the problem immediately, you may need to relocate your loved one to a different facility.