Living in Texas can be hot and humid. With the age of our population continuing to rise, older adults are at risk of dehydration and heat stroke. Dehydration can cause a myriad of health problems for seniors ranging from dizziness to fainting, constipation and urinary tract infections. Wich such scary health risks, it’s no question that maintaining proper hydration should be a top priority for older adults, but it can be a challenge.
Why is proper hydration so important for older adults, and what can we do to help ensure that the seniors in our lives stay hydrated and healthy? We take a closer look into these questions below.
Why Seniors Are at a Greater Risk of Dehydration
Dehydration is usually caused by an inadequate intake of fluids and electrolytes or losses in excess of normal amounts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults are at a greater risk of dehydration than younger individuals. They may become dehydrated because they don’t drink enough water or other fluids, due to medications that can cause dehydration, or due to difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
The kidneys play a crucial role in maintaining proper fluid balance by filtering waste materials from the blood stream and regulating salt (also known as sodium) levels through balancing fluid volume within the body. When it comes to seniors, the kidneys have less ability to excrete excessive amounts of water and concentrate urine, which results in the sensation of thirst being much less noticeable. As a result, older adults often don’t feel the need to drink the amount of water they should, thus becoming dehydrated without realizing it.
The Consequences of Dehydration for Seniors
Dehydration can have serious consequences for anyone, and these consequences often compound health issues that seniors are already more vulnerable to. Lack of water can cause serious symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, weakness, fainting, and even death. Knowing how dangerous this condition can be, what can you do to help ensure the seniors in your life get enough to drink throughout the day?
Tips to Help Seniors Stay Hydrated
- Make sure your loved one drinks around 16–32 cups of water per day. Having them drink two to three glasses of water as soon as they wake up in the morning is a great way to start the day.
- Give them a bottle of water to take with them wherever they go during the day. Take a bottle yourself if you’re accompanying your loved one.
- Add lemon or lime for a refreshing taste and added vitamin C.
- Be observant when it comes to knowing if someone around you is dehydrated. Understand the symptoms of dehydration and take action if you notice any.
- Drinking pure, clean water is great, so make sure that the older person fills their glass with a transparent beverage such as water.
- Exercising can make it really easy for people to become dehydrated, especially in hot weather. Make sure your loved ones get plenty of extra fluids to drink if they engage in physical activity.
- If you know an older adult who often struggles with dehydration, keep them away from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics that can compound the effects of certain medications that cause fluid loss.
As we can see, proper hydration is vital for everyone. It can be hard to remember to drink enough water, especially for an older adult. If you’re concerned that a senior in your life isn’t getting enough water, you might consider bringing them to Ruby’s Home. Our trained staff will help your loved one by reminding them to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and ensuring they have a glass of water with each meal. We also encourage family members to bring their loved ones in for a free evaluation so our staff can make sure they are getting proper hydration and nutrition while in assisted living in Austin.
Assisted Living in Austin
If your loved one is in need of a little more help these days, Ruby’s Home would be a great fit for them. We offer varied levels of care, that can change to meet your loved ones needs. We have designed Ruby’s Home to not feel like the traditional residential care and assisted living homes in Austin, TX, but to rather feel like they never left home.