Now that summer is here, it is important to monitor dehydration in seniors and prevent dehydration from occurring during these warmer months. In fact, dehydration is much more common in the elderly than younger people. But what causes dehydration in the elderly? The cause for dehydration in seniors is often due to inadequate water intake but can happen due to other health reasons. As we age, our body’s water percentage naturally decreases and we become less aware of our thirst. As family members or caretakers, we must take action in preventing dehydration in seniors to avoid serious health risks.
Whether you are a family member or caretaker, be sure to watch for the following symptoms of dehydration:
Symptoms of Dehydration
- Dry mouth
- Thick saliva
- Dark-colored urine
- Joint pain
Potential Health Risks of Dehydration
Elderly loved ones often struggle with dehydration without themselves or their caretakers noticing, which makes it essential to recognize the potential health risks. The following potential health risks of dehydration are:
- Kidney problems
- Low blood volume
- Heat strokes
How to Prevent Dehydration in Seniors
Assess water needs
If your loved one’s current water intake is below the required amount, try to have them increase the amount they drink gradually. Encourage them to drink a cup of water after they wake up or take small sips in-between meals! You do not want to wait until they are thirsty to start drinking water. It is recommended to take one-third of the person’s body weight in pounds and have them drink the equivalent number of ounces of water daily. For example, a 150-pound woman would need 50 fluid ounces of water daily.
Consume foods high in water content
Be sure to incorporate foods high in water content into their diet. Fruits, vegetables, and even yogurt can help seniors stay hydrated. For instance, have them eat watermelon or cucumbers which are 96 percent water content.
Avoid diuretic beverages
Try to discourage your elderly loved one from drinking alcohol, coffee, and some protein drinks which can increase urination and lead to dehydration.
All in all, it is so important to monitor dehydration in your loved one during the hot summer months. Now you are able to identify the signs or symptoms, as well as, the potential health risks of dehydration. By following these tips, you will be able to effectively prevent dehydration in seniors. Stay safe and stay hydrated this summer!