Summer can be a time of rest and relaxation, involving family picnics, time at the beach or working in the yard and gardens. As the days get hotter, the risk of dehydration increases and can be a serious problem for anyone, but older adults are more at risk for dehydration, due to a decrease in body water content. Medical conditions and medications can also affect a senior’s water retention, and those with dementia may forget to drink and have difficulty swallowing.
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of dehydration and know how to prevent it so you or a senior family member can remain safe in the hot summer months.
Some signs of severe dehydration include little or no urination, dark or amber-colored urine, dry skin, low blood pressure, weak pulse, or rapid breathing and heartbeat. In order to prevent these from occurring, make sure you are getting a minimum intake of eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid throughout the day.
Balance your fluid intake with output. If you are sweating more, or urinating more frequently, you should be increasing your fluid intake. Water isn’t the only option for drinking, either! If a senior refuses to drink water, consider some flavor enhancers like a juice mixer or fruit infuser. Other options can include popsicles or smoothies. Raw fruits and vegetables can also be extremely hydrating, as well as nutritious. Some of these include cucumbers, watermelon, grapes, celery, and tomatoes.
If you are concerned with dehydration, talk to your doctor for advice on staying hydrated and maintaining optimal health throughout your senior years.
There may come a time where managing a healthy lifestyle becomes overwhelming and you find yourself or a senior family member making poor diet choices, becoming less physically active, and interacting less with other people. It may be time to start researching senior living options, which can help maintain a consistent diet and activity schedule. Many senior living communities have 24-hour staffing to ensure residents are safe and living an ideal lifestyle.
Check your local senior community to see what their senior living options are and the services provided and find out how you can live life to the fullest in your senior years.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Russ Stack. Russ Stack is the Executive Director at Senior Commons at Powder Mill Independent Living, Personal Care and Memory Care.