Westport, Connecticut
181 Post Rd W #17, Westport, CT 06880
(203) 924-4949
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Call (203) 924-4949 | 181 Post Rd W #17, Westport, Connecticut 06880
181 Post Rd W #17, Westport, Connecticut 06880

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Signs of Dehydration in Seniors

Comfort Keepers In-Home Care in Westport, Connecticut.

Signs of Dehydration in Seniors

September 7, 2018    by Dennis Patouhas

My philosophy is that a day that goes by without learning something new is a waste of a day.

Just as I was about to waste one of those days, the moment of enlightenment occurred. Shea, my very significant other asked me if I had been drinking my water? She is my great reminder. I said probably not and then she told me, that’s what she thought because my breath doesn’t smell good. Really? Drinking water and bad breath? What else can go wrong from not drinking H2o?

So off I went to learn more. I had written articles on dehydration before “Even Camels Can Become Dehydrated – So Why Not You?” and “If Not Water, what qualifies for Hydrating Your Body?” With those behind me what was I missing? Apparently quite a bit. 

According to Bad Breath And 4 Other Signs That You’re Dehydrated by Leo McDevitt dehydration symptoms can include:

  • Bad breath - who knew that canned tuna can cause this?
  • Constipation 
  • Dry Skin, Despite using plenty of lotion
  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired after lunch

The Center for Disease Control indicates that as many as 75% of Americans are dehydrated and have been for more than 5 years (chronic dehydration). As a result, your body compensates in different areas to conserve water and favors organs based upon their critical need to the body. Considering that as much as 60% of the weight of the human body is water, not replenishing what is lost can cause undesirable effects in someone who is generally properly hydrated. For those who are chronically dehydrated the effects are worse.

Recently one of our Comfort Keepers clients, a 92 year old woman had a weekend during which she fell a total of 6 times. Despite her objections, she finally agreed to go to the hospital. The net result was she was dehydrated. Getting her to drink water was an ordeal. It is not unusual to learn that many older people never drank water very much throughout their life, so now they figure the more they drink the more frequent their bathroom trips.

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, other symptoms include

  • Dry mouth and swollen tongue
  • Weakness and dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Fainting
  • Sunken eyes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Extreme thirst
  • Joint pain intensifies
  • Inability to sweat
  • Decreased urine output
  • Urine is strongly colored yellow
  • 3 O'clock crash

As noted by McDevitt “Unfortunately, the way many chronically dehydrated people respond to the symptoms of dehydration can make the problem even worse. For example: Your body tries to retain as much water as possible when you’re dehydrated, which leads to bloating due to water retention. Many people in this condition wrongly blame water for their bloating, so they drink even less water and become more dehydrated!”. As for the 3 o'clock crash, McDevitt says “The reason this happens is because it takes a lot of water to create the digestive fluids your body needs to digest and absorb your lunch. If you’re dehydrated, then your body will slow your metabolism down so that it can spare some water for digestion. The right thing to do if you feel drowsy in the afternoon is to drink more water.”

Comfort Keepers of Lower Fairfield County has been providing senior care services for over 17 years. As one of the oldest agencies in the area we have helped hundreds of families with elder care for their loved ones. Our service area covers Greenwich to Fairfield and includes such towns as Norwalk and Darien. As part of one of the largest systems for senior care with over 750 offices nationwide we have solutions to senior care issues where you need them. Call us at (203) 924-4949.