Did you know that elderly adults are at a higher risk for dehydration? Usually, people only think of dehydration in relation to playing sports or doing strenuous recreation.
The truth is that elderly adults don’t often take in as much fluid during the day as they lose, leading to dangerous dehydration levels. Family caregivers can help a great deal by taking steps to ensure their aging loved one is properly hydrated, especially in the summer months.
The Dangers of Dehydration
Without enough body fluids, elderly adults face a number of health risks. These include difficulty sweating to control body temperature, lower blood pressure, constipation, and urinary tract infections. In severe cases, dehydration triggers weakness, confusion, and kidney failure. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, sunken eyes, low urine output, rapid heart rate, constipation, dizziness or headaches and inability to sweat or cry tears.
Even if family caregivers and seniors think they are drinking enough fluids, other things like vomiting, diarrhea, medicines, lots of sweating from exertion and more can drain the body of fluids before they can be replenished. An elderly person’s body is usually inefficient and simply cannot keep up with the task of staying hydrated without help and guidance. If a family caregiver suspects their loved one is dehydrated, they can get them to drink and take them to a doctor soon.
Ways to Help Seniors Stay Hydrated
The hotter the summer weather, the more seniors need to hydrate. Family caregivers and home care providers that prepare meals and snacks for elderly adults shouldn’t forget about hydrating them as well. While it might not seem like a big deal, dehydration can happen quickly in the elderly and have serious health consequences.
Of course, water, tea, juice, and flavored waters are the best ways to get those fluids. However, some fruits and vegetables can also help. With meals and snacks that contain cucumbers, watermelon, grapes, celery, lettuce and oranges, seniors can get fluids in a less traditional way. Home care providers can keep the elderly person’s water bottle refilled and also encourage them to drink frequently.
Other ways to keep seniors hydrated includes keeping them out of the sun in the hottest part of the day, such as between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This way, they don’t sweat as much, depleting the body. If the elderly person is suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, in-home senior care providers need to keep pushing fluids and alerting the doctor if necessary.
Summer is a wonderful time of family gatherings, fun holidays and nature’s beauty. It can also be a time of discomfort due to heat and sun, which can lead to dehydration. Family caregivers need to put in extra effort to make sure their elderly loved one stays hydrated and healthy all summer long.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Atlanta, GA, please call the caring staff at Always Care Nursing Service today. Call for Assistance: (404) 266-8773 or (800) 989-7828
Administrator of 3 Florida (Always Care) Home Health Agencies for over Fourteen years.
Always Care of Georgia since 2001
Served as a 1st Lt. In the US Army