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How to tell if an elderly loved one is dehydrated

Neglect takes many forms in assisted living facilities. It could lead to physical injuries when the person does not get the assistance they need when walking or showering, for example. It could lead to bedsores when the person does not get moved or rotated often enough.

However, cases of neglect are not always this obvious. Neglecting to give a resident enough food and water can cause serious harm and may even be fatal. It is important for family members to know what signs to watch out for, so let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of dehydration:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Urinating infrequently
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased rate of breathing
  • Crying without tears
  • Sunken facial features
  • Irritability
  • Listlessness

It is important to note that dehydration can be a bit harder to identify in the elderly, who may have some of these symptoms already, than in younger people. For instance, perhaps your loved one is suffering from dementia. If they seem confused, is it a result of this mental disorder or is it because they are dehydrated? They may be overweight and out of shape because they no longer get much exercise. Are their increased heart rate and breathing because of dehydration or these other physical conditions?

However, if you see multiple symptoms, especially when there are no other potential factors, it may be an indicator that the staff at the facility is not giving your loved one the care that they deserve. When this happens, it is important to know what steps you can take to help alleviate this dangerous situation.


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