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Essay Elderly Dehydration

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Most people don’t think about dehydration; let alone elderly dehydration. It is a common problem, in the aging, and often recognition along with treatment may be delayed; contributing to a high mortality rate. (Lavizzo-Mourey, 1987) By recognizing a potential problem early, you may save an older adult from a debilitating complication. (Hamilton, 2001) The prevention of elderly dehydration will deter illness and increases life expectancy, along with decreasing unnecessary hospitalization and cost.
There are several causes to elderly dehydration, which can be broken down into four groups: physiological factors, psychological factors, functional impairments, and mechanical impairments. (Hamilton, 2001) The physiological factors are: natural 10% body fluid loss, diminish of taste making food less appetizing and adding salt for flavor, thirst diminishes, medications that are diuretics or laxatives, and draining wounds. (Hamilton 2001) The caffeine in coffee and soda, the theophylline in tea, and the throbromine in cocoa, all raise blood pressure along with increase production and elimination of urine. (Vasey, 2002) Alcohol, on the other hand, dries out the mucous membrane causing sclerosis. (Vasey, 2002) Diarrhea, vomiting, or febrile illness also contributes to elderly dehydration. (Moore, 2005) The psychological factors are: depression which contributes to loss of appetite, purposefully decrease fluid to reduce bathroom trips. (Hamilton, 2001) The functional impairments are: coma, paralysis and N.P.O (Nothing Per Orem) patients. (Hamilton, 2001) Elderly individuals with disabilities such as: visual, cognitive or motor impairment may need assists with water intake. (Kavanaugh, 2000) Tubal feeding may need additional water in the nutr...


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6) Lavizzo-Mourey, Risa. (1987). Dehydration in the elderly: a short review. Journal of the National Medical Association, 79(10), Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2625510/pdf/jnma00925-0023.pdf

7) Moore, M.C. (2005). Nutritional assessment and care. St Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Mosby.

8) NIH Senior Health, (Producer). (2002). What to drink as you get older. [Web]. Retrieved from http://nihseniorhealth.gov/videolist.html#eatingwell

9) Vasey, C. (2002). The water prescription for health, vitality, and rejuvenation. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press.Warren, J., Bacon, W., Harris, T., McBean, A., Foley, D., & Phillips, C. (1994).
10) The Burden and Outcomes Associated with Dehydration among US
Elderly, 1991. American Journal of Public Health, 84(8), 1265. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.


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