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Florida senior homes must make sure residents stay hydrated

The summer heat and humidity are in full force in Florida, so we're reaching for the water bottles constantly each day. No matter what the temperature, dehydration always has the potential to be a serious issue for our elderly loved ones.

If they reside in an assisted living or nursing home, their caregivers should be monitoring them for signs of dehydration and making sure they take in enough fluids daily. Dehydration happens when the loss of water in a body is higher than what the person consumes.

What could happen if a person is not properly hydrated?

Several medical concerns can arise, and some of the conditions are difficult for the elderly to fight off. They include pneumonia, infections or bedsores for those confined to bed. Death could even result.

Dehydration is common in senior citizens. That can be attributed to a number of factors. For example, some medications act as a diuretic or cause sweating. Further, as we age, our thirst decreases. Other factors include older people's inability to easily get up to get a drink, lessening kidney function, diet and illnesses.

How can you tell if your loved one is dehydrated?

There are several symptoms that could indicate dehydration. They include confusion, sunken eyes, rapid heart rate, low urine output, difficulty walking, dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, weight loss, headaches and the inability to produce tears or to sweat.

If you notice any of these signs in your loved one, a visit to the doctor is in order to treat the condition and see if a change of medication is advised. Additionally, ask the manager of the nursing home or assisted living home what their hydration plan is. Do residents get help with drinking? Is water easily accessible at all times of the day? Is water placed next to residents' beds, especially if they have mobility problems?

Dehydration is manageable in seniors. If your loved suffers a long-term effect of dehydration, an experienced attorney can offer guidance.

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