For many, summer is the time to enjoy nature and the great outdoors. And what better way to spend a day than on a picnic, on the lake, or enjoying a walk? All this outdoor activity can be very good for a person’s dehydration. While many seniors enjoy
heat a bit more than their younger counterparts, heat can be our enemy when it comes to hydration.
As we age, our bodies have less water content than when we are younger. Some studies have shown that most adults over the age of 75 have nearly 50 percent less water content in their bodies than their younger counterparts. The reasons for this may include a
decline in muscle mass, increased fat cells, and often prescription medications interfere with our body’s water content. People with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other memory issues may also have more concerns with dehydration, simply because they forget to hydrate. In fact, for many people – especially older adults – dehydration is common and is diagnosed frequently in seniors who have
been admitted to the hospital.
While occasional dehydration is common, when your body’s water content drops too much, your body cannot function properly. Chronic dehydration can lead to shortness of breath and heart damage. Left untreated, kidney failure, swelling of the brain, and other severe side effects, including coma or death, can occur.
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
Older adults who are noticeably weaker, more tired or more irritable than usual, may be showing signs of dehydration. Other symptoms may include cramps, dark urine, dry mouth, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, and an increased heart rate. Loss of elasticity of the skin is often used as the first indicator of dehydration but it should not
be the only indicator.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
While some general rules of thumb say to drink at least eight glasses of non-caffeinated fluids a day, some people should drink less, and others should drink more. Always talk with your doctor about how much liquid per day is best for you. Your doctor can review your medical history and any medications you are taking that may require more or less fluid intake
HOW TO STAY HYDRATED
The most convenient and easiest way to stay hydrated is to keep a drink within reach at all times. In addition to the fluids, you consume with your meals, drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning, in-between meals, before and after exercising, and after urination. Set routine cues to remember to drink water. For example, set an hourly alert on your phone or smart watch, or leave notes in noticeable locations to remind you to drink more.
Supplementing with juices and water heavy fruits like watermelons or honeydew can help avoid dehydration. Also,food with high water content like cucumbers, lettuce, soups, broths and stews can also boost your fluid intake. Be sure to choose low-sodium options if you are watching your sodium.
The best way to avoid dehydration is to learn the symptoms and follow best practices, most importantly follow your
Inspired HomeCare caregivers and clinicians are here to help our patients understand the benefits of proper hydration and help patients and their caregivers better detect and prevent dehydration. To find a location near you, visit https://inspiredhomecare.net/locations/