In the summer, older adults are more susceptible to dehydration, but it can happen at any time. The sensation of feeling thirsty may not be as noticeable. Prostate issues may lead to incontinence, which may make him cautious of drinking too much water.
Prescription medications that cause nausea may keep your dad from wanting to eat or drink anything. There are also medications that can lead to dehydration if you’re not careful. Diuretics are an example of one problematic medication. It’s important for your dad’s health, but it also increases the risk of dehydration.
How can you tell if your dad is dehydrated? If his urine is dark or he’s not often going to the bathroom, it can be an indicator. If he is confused or disoriented, it can be a sign of dehydration. Confusion is also a sign of other issues, so you can’t rely on that sign alone.
Low blood pressure, a fast heart rate, dizziness, and weakness are other signs. One of the better ones is to see if his skin looks especially dry under the armpit. If he’s complaining of his mouth feeling dry and sticky, that can also indicate dehydration.
If you suspect your dad is dehydrated, call his doctor. He may not need to be seen, but the doctor may want to check him over and adjust medications if they are the root of the problem. A blood test to check his electrolytes will help determine if he has low potassium or sodium levels.
Get him to sit down and sip at juice, water, seltzer, decaffeinated tea, or a sports drink. He needs to sip it and not take large gulps. If he’s mildly dehydrated, that should be enough to help him feel better. If he’s still showing signs, take him to his doctor or an immediate care center.
If your dad is on diuretics, talk to his doctor about how much liquid to offer him each hour. Set timers or purchase a timer water bottle to ensure he’s drinking enough without drinking too much.
If his dehydration isn’t linked to his medications, make sure he is given a glass of water throughout the day. Monitor how much he’s drinking. Offer reminders if he’s not drinking enough.
If he resists drinking more, try serving him melon cubes, grapes, berries, and slices of orange. All of those fruits have a higher water content, which will help increase his water intake. Senior care services are also worth discussing to ensure someone is available when you’re not. A senior care aide can encourage him to drink a little each hour or eat a fruit or vegetable with extra water content.