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How to identify dehydration

Care home residents using Hydracup

It is vital to keep an eye out for any signs of dehydration in order to prevent further complications, especially in elderly individuals. Although it is always better to work proactively to prevent dehydration, there are several indicators that you should know so you can act and take measures to help them rehydrate.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration

Ensuring the well-being of residents in care homes requires vigilant observation. Experienced caregivers can detect the subtle signs of dehydration, which can have major consequences if left untreated. By being attuned to these signs, we can intervene early and prevent further complications caused by insufficient fluid intake.

Thirst: The sensation of thirst is the body's way of communicating its need for fluids. Residents who express thirst or a preference.

e for hydrating beverages give insights that their bodies require more water. However, it is important to remember that usually by the time we feel thirsty we are already dehydrated.

Dark urine: A person's hydration status can be determined by the colour of their urine. If urine is dark yellow or amber, it may indicate that there are concentrated waste products in the body due to insufficient water intake.

Dry mouth and lips: A parched mouth and dry, cracked lips are common signs of dehydration. So encouraging residents to sip water and providing lip balm can offer relief and prevent further fluid loss.

Fatigue and weakness: Dehydration can lead to reduced energy levels and fatigue. Residents experiencing unexplained tiredness may benefit from increased fluid intake to revitalise their energy.

Dizziness and confusion: Cognitive functions can be compromised by dehydration, leading to symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, or difficulty concentrating. This can also impact mobility and cause slips, trips and falls. Early intervention can prevent further escalation.

Causes of dehydration:

Aside from the common causes of dehydration, there are circumstances that could cause individuals to lose more water such as:

  • A fever

  • Diarrhoea

  • Vomiting

  • Excessive sweating

  • Urinating more frequently (diabetes and medication can impact fluid output)

Elderly people are most at risk of dehydration because they often do not realise they are thirsty and if they rely on a caregiver, they may not always have access to a drink or be able to get one themselves.

Recognising the signs of dehydration is crucial for maintaining good health and preventing serious medical complications.

For more information, download our free hydration guide, which will tell you everything you need to know about hydration monitoring in your care setting and how you can work proactively to prevent dehydration.


Download the guide now

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