Dehydration may not sound like a significant issue to those who are young, fit and able to get their own water whenever they need it. It’s just a minor inconvenience. To the elderly, though, it is a serious risk and can have major consequences.
In fact, some have gone so far as to call it one of the more often overlooked health issues for seniors. They say that chronic dehydration happens to 40% of senior citizens, meaning they’re constantly dealing with it and feeling the effects.
What are those effects? Dehydration that goes beyond merely feeling thirsty can lead to things like kidney stones, falls (often due to feeling lightheaded) urinary tract infects and more. It can cause headaches, make it harder to sleep, make people feel weak and lead to cognitive confusion.
As a sign of just how serious this can become, those who are 65 years old and older go to the hospital for dehydration more than any other age group.
Neglect in a nursing home can lead to dehydration for multiple reasons. It’s more than just neglecting to bring someone a drink. Many seniors struggle with mobility challenges. They may physically not be able to get up and get water on their own. Cognitive challenges may also make it hard for seniors to express this need to their caregivers. Caregivers have to understand their patients’ needs, know what signs of dehydration to watch out for and never allow it to get so bad that it leads to a hospital stay.
However, if dehydration in a nursing home does happen to your loved one, make sure you understand your legal options.