Get The Help You Need From A Florida Board-Certified Elder Law Specialist

Dehydration may be an early indicator of elder abuse

Oct 4, 2021 | Elder Abuse

If you do not have the time or skill necessary to care for an elderly parent, you may decide to move him or her into a nursing home or ask an in-home caregiver to assist. Either way, you expect your parent to receive the care he or she needs to thrive.

Elder abuse is alarmingly common in Florida and across the country, with roughly 10% of those over the age of 60 experiencing some type of abuse. Regrettably, elder abuse is not always easy to spot. If your parent shows signs of dehydration, though, someone may not be treating him or her appropriately.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

As individuals age, they often consume less water. Still, the following signs may indicate your loved one is not drinking enough fluids during the day:

  • Dry mouth, sunken eyes or rigid skin
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite or excessive thirst
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Headaches, confusion or memory lapses

Why can dehydration indicate elder abuse?

Dehydration, of course, may occur for reasons that have nothing to do with elder abuse. Nevertheless, nefarious caregivers may withhold fluids as punishment for perceived misconduct. They may also refuse to offer your parent the beverages he or she prefers. Alternatively, dehydration may indicate neglect, which can be just as serious as abuse.

If your parent exhibits other signs of elder abuse, dehydration may be further evidence of mistreatment.

It does not take long for minor dehydration to turn into a life-threatening emergency, especially if your parent has underlying medical conditions. Ultimately, if you notice your mother or father is suffering from dehydration, you likely need to act quickly both to protect your parent and to stop elder abuse in its tracks.