The Importance of Hydration for Seniors: It's critical that especially in the hottest summer months that we are ensuring that we are drinking enough fluids to keep ourselves hydrated. Studies show that around 40% of all heat-related ailments and health conditions occur in seniors over the age of 65. This can be true for several reasons including that as people age the percentage of their bodies that are water decrease and their ability to tell they are getting overheated lessens with age as well. Moreover, many seniors are on medications that can make them dehydrate more easily as a side-effect.
What Can Be Done to Ensure Seniors Stay Hydrated?
There are many things that seniors can do to ensure they are staying hydrated during the hottest months. It's also important to prevent electrolyte balances which seniors become more susceptible to as they age as well. Ensuring that they are drinking throughout the day to prevent overheating is undoubtedly the best way to prevent the problem. Ensuring that a senior is drinking can help save up to $1.14 billion in medical costs across the US that result from senior hospital visits correlated with dehydration each year. It can help save senior's lives.
Tips for Preventing Dehydration:
Exactly what are some of the best ways to keep seniors hydrated? Some of the following tips are a great start:
1. Have the senior drink an 8 oz. glass of water every time they have to take their medications.
2. Ensure there is water available wherever the senior is whether that's at their bedside throughout their home or even a water bottle in their purse if they are out at the senior community doing activities or out shopping! The presence of water encourages more drinking.
3. Provide alternatives to plain water if seniors are not drinking adequately! Half 100% fruit juice mixed with water or other alternatives can work great.
4. Provide extra-hydrating beverages to help seniors stay refreshed during some of the hottest months. Some of these options can include things like coconut water or cucumber water. Limit the consumption of beverages that dehydrate such as sodas.
5. Offer a variety of daily fruits and vegetables to help seniors ensure they are taking in enough liquids. These are a great option for additional hydration as well.
Know the Symptoms of Dehydration:
Just as important as providing the hydration seniors need is knowing the signs of dehydration. If a senior seems to be consistently sleepy/tired, has a decreased urine output, has a urine output that is concentrated in a deep golden yellow color, complains of headaches, has very dry skin, or is dizzy they may be moderately dehydrated. Provide adequate fluids and a cool place for them to rest till they are feeling better.
If a senior is exhibiting signs including zero urine output, urine that is almost a brownish color, a very low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, a fever, lethargy/confusion, seizures, or looks to be in shock they are severely dehydrated. This is the point where you need to seek medical help immediately.
Know the signs of dehydration and listen to any complaints the senior may have related to feeling overly-thirsty especially in the summer's hottest months.
At Caring Senior Service, our expert staff is comprised of extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and trusted professionals who take pride in helping your loved one manage their daily activities. Contact us today to learn more!