Water is a crucial part of our lives. Everyone needs water to survive and maintain good health. Without proper water intake, you will become dehydrated.
A person becomes dehydrated when they have used more water than they have taken in. In such a case, your body will not be able to function properly, which could lead to health issues.
For example, you use up water when you sweat. This sweat helps regulate your body temperature by cooling you down. However, if you do not replace the water used, then your body temperature will not be regulated and cooled down as your body will have trouble producing sweat due to the lack of water.
What Happens When Seniors Become Dehydrated
For elderly individuals, dehydration can be a common concern as they are at greater risk for dehydration than other age groups. This is partially because as people get older, one’s thirst sense changes. For seniors, it can become more difficult to recognize when they are thirsty compared to earlier years in their life. Additionally, seniors with medical conditions can be at further risk of dehydration.
Aside from poor sweat production, other symptoms of dehydration in elderly individuals include dizziness, dry mouth, increased heart rate, and constipation among others. It is important to recognize signs of dehydration in elderly individuals so they can hydrate quickly.
Knowing of the dangers that dehydration can pose to seniors, it is imperative that you look out for your elderly loved ones to prevent them from becoming dehydrated. Keep the following tips in mind when you are with your senior relatives to ensure they remain hydrated and healthy, especially during the hot summer months.
1. Encourage Hydration Throughout the Day
Elderly individuals may not notice dry mouth or other signs of thirst in the same way younger people do, so it can be especially helpful to remind and encourage them to hydrate throughout the day. Having a loose schedule for hydration can help remind seniors to drink water regularly as the day progresses.
For example, drinking a glass of water after waking up and with each meal will help elderly individuals keep up with their necessary water intake.
2. Appeal to Seniors’ Tastes
Water is the best liquid to consume to hydrate oneself. However, it isn’t appealing to everyone because of its plainness and lack of flavor.
While seniors especially should still have plain water as much as possible, make sure they have alternate drinks available to help encourage hydration. Tea, milk, and natural fruit juices — for example — are good alternative options to have when water is unappealing. Making fruit-infused water is also a flavorful and refreshing way to make water more appealing.
3. Provide Foods with High Water Content
Aside from drinking fluids, another way to help seniors stay hydrated is to have them consume foods that have high water content. Watermelon, cucumbers, celery, soup, gelatin, and yogurt are just some of the foods that have high water content and are good for keeping hydration levels up.
4. Limit Time Outdoors in the Heat
If the weather calls for lots of sunshine and high temperatures, be wary of how much time is actually spent outdoors. The high temperatures will cause seniors to lose water by producing sweat to combat the heat and cool down the body. In turn, being in the heat will make dehydration even easier, so seniors should limit the amount of time they spend outdoors.
When outside, elderly individuals should keep a water bottle nearby to help them stay hydrated in the meantime.
5. Refrain from Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption
When trying to hydrate oneself, it is recommended that people avoid consuming alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. This is because alcohol and caffeine cause more frequent urination, which leads to fluid loss. So consuming such drinks in large amounts can actually hinder your hydration levels. Knowing this, seniors should refrain from drinking alcohol, coffee, and other drinks high in caffeine.
Elderly Care Services
Elderly individuals may find that it is more difficult to take care of themselves at old age compared to when they were younger. As aforementioned, even something as simple as staying hydrated can be tougher to do. While such struggles are normal, they are not things that seniors have to deal with on their own. Professional senior care services are available to assist elderly individuals with those situations and more.
Assisting Hands Home Care offers personal assistance and elderly care services in Park Ridge, IL, and the neighboring areas to help seniors live at home in a safe manner. Within these senior care services, our professional personal care aides will provide whatever personal assistance seniors need. This can include help with things like getting dressed and using the restroom and other activities like meal preparation and light housekeeping.
Our caregivers can provide hydration reminders, shop for foods high in water content, make sure seniors have enough beverages to keep them hydrated, and partake in other activities that will help prevent dehydration. Hydration is important for everyone in the summer months, especially seniors who can become dehydrated very fast. Dehydration can lead to some serious issues with elderly individuals that may even require a trip to the hospital. Having a caregiver with them to help ensure they are properly hydrated can prevent hospitalization.
With help from our personal home care assistance services, elderly individuals can continue to safely live at home while maintaining some independence.