Detecting Dehydration and Malnutrition in the Elderly

Detecting dehydration and malnutrition in the elderly can be very hard for a family member or friend to do in a nursing home resident.  Vulnerable, dependent residents in poorly staffed homes are likely to suffer from dehydration and malnutrition in the elderly. Malnutrition occurs when nursing home residents are not fed their recommended daily calorific intake. Malnourished nursing home residents are at a much high risk of infections and increased likelihood of bone fractures. A decrease in the proper functioning of the immune system due to malnutrition could be potentially fatal in a dense nursing home environment where many people live in the same assisted living facility.

Dehydration occurs often in the nursing home environment because senior citizens are more susceptible to dehydration than younger people. This dehydration in an elderly resident can also cause different health problems. For example, lack of fluids could lead to urinary tract infections, pneumonia, bed sores, confusion, and depression. Many of the symptoms for malnutrition and dehydration in the elderly are similar. After observing any of these symptoms, it may be advisable to contact medial assistance to further examine the patient.

Detecting Dehydration and Malnutrition in the Elderly:

  • Dry lips and dry tongue
  • Poor skin turgor
  • Decreased muscle mass and weakness
  • Very dark urine and decreased urine output
  • Dizziness and Constant headache
  • Extreme Tiredness and Weakness
  • Fever Symptoms
  • Confusion or irritability
  • Chronic Diarrhea


Experiencing any of these symptoms could indicate dehydration or malnutrition in the elderly person living in a nursing home. This could be caused by nursing home neglect or abuse. After receiving proper medical attention it may be necessary to contact the state nursing home authorities to report the problem. If the harm was serious, a nursing home negligence lawsuit may be a viable option for compensation.  Please consider contacting a nursing home abuse attorney

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