As individuals age, they often require fewer liquids to remain fully hydrated. Still, if your elderly loved one is not receiving sufficient fluids, his or her health may decline rapidly. Even worse, dehydration may be evidence of something considerably more nefarious.
Dehydration is often one of the earliest indications of abuse and neglect. Therefore, if your aging relative is suffering from dehydration, you may need to investigate whether he or she is receiving adequate and loving care from caregivers.
How do you identify dehydration?
It can be difficult to identify dehydration, as older individuals may neither know they have consumed insufficient fluids nor complain about mistreatment. Furthermore, according to the Mayo Clinic, some medical conditions and medications may increase your loved one’s chances of developing dehydration during the final stages of life.
Put simply, you may have to do some detective work to know whether your relative has dehydration issues. Watching for the following may be useful:
- Headaches and muscle aches
- Confusion, dizziness and disorientation
- Dry skin
- Bad breath and foul-smelling urine
The link between dehydration and neglect
Caregivers may have to be creative to convince your elderly relative to consume liquids, as he or she may not enjoy drinking water or other hydrating fluids. If caregivers are too busy, though, they may not realize your loved one is suffering from dehydration. More alarmingly, caregivers may withhold fluids to punish your relative.
For elderly individuals, dehydration can become deadly quickly. Ultimately, if your loved one’s dehydration causes him or her to suffer additional injuries or die, you may have grounds to pursue significant financial compensation from his or her caregivers.