Dehydration is something that could sneak up on your aging family member if your attention is elsewhere. Near the end of her life, dehydration can become an even bigger problem if you don’t realize it quickly enough. Here are some signs to watch for with your family member.
She’s Having Even More Trouble Eating
Near the end of her life, your senior may be having trouble eating regularly. She may show a marked preference for certain types of foods, such as softer foods. But if your elderly family member is dehydrated, then the act of swallowing can be even more difficult for her.
Her Skin and Lips Are Dry or Chapped
Start paying attention to your senior’s skin and to her lips. These areas are among the first to start suffering if she’s not getting enough water on a regular basis. Her lips and skin may become chapped or start to look flaky. Her skin may “tent” as well if you gently pull up a small piece.
She Seems Dizzy or Weaker than Usual
Dehydration affects the entire body. Your senior may tell you that she’s feeling a little weaker or more tired than usual. When she goes to stand, she may have more experiences of feeling dizzy when that might not usually be the case. Try to stay alert for those signs so that you can narrow down potential causes.
She’s Refusing Food and Drink
Dehydration can affect the brain and the digestive system while it’s affecting the rest of her body. Your senior may start to think that she’s not hungry or thirsty at all, when in fact she needs both food and drink. If drinking or eating is too difficult for her, she may be avoiding them to avoid that discomfort. It’s worth investigating what is behind her refusal.
She’s Having Trouble Talking
Because your senior’s entire body dries out when she’s dehydrated, she may start to have trouble talking, too. Her vocal chords need moisture to be able to work properly. Her throat may feel dry and scratchy, making it difficult to communicate the way that she wants to communicate.
Your senior may not realize that she’s dehydrated either. It’s important to keep up with subtle issues like dehydration so that you can solve them before they cause big problems for your family member. End-of-life care providers can help you to stay on top of all of these potential issues.