As summer approaches, seniors must take extra precautions to stay hydrated. Dehydration can be a serious concern for elderly people, leading to several health problems. This condition is one of the common causes for hospitalization among adults ages 65 and older.
Severe loss of body fluids is referred to as dehydration. In the summer, dehydration affects people of all ages, but elderly people remain at a higher risk. Among many causes, one of the major sources of dehydration among elderly people is insufficient fluid intake.
Prolonged dehydration in seniors can lead to cognitive and mental dysfunction. It also increases the risk of respiratory infection, bladder infection, kidney stones, fever, obstipation, and low blood pressure. Additionally, the fatality rate from dehydration can rise as high as 50%.
Keeping in mind the serious health problems experienced by older adults that are due to dehydration, the following article states ten tips to help seniors prevent dehydration during the summer months.
Before we talk about summer dehydration safety tips, let’s discuss the common signs and symptoms that elderly people should be on lookout for. These include:
#1: Increase Water Intake to Drink Plenty of Water
One of the most recommended tips to prevent dehydration in seniors is to increase water intake to ensure the individual is drinking plenty of water. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends women drink 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water per day and men drink 3.7 liters (125 ounces) of water per day.
#2: Consume Foods with High Water Content
Another way to prevent dehydration is by eating foods with high water content. Some of the hydrating foods that can be included in one’s diet are watermelon, cucumber, strawberries, tomatoes, grapes, bell peppers, apples, etc.
#3: Avoid Caffeinated, Sugary, and Alcoholic Beverages
Caffeinated, sugary, and/or alcoholic beverages can lead to dehydration. Thus, elderly people should limit their consumption of these drinks and opt instead to have water, fresh fruit juices, or other non-alcoholic beverages.
#4: Stay Indoors During the Hottest Part of the Day
Summer days may be long, but to prevent dehydration, elderly people should stay indoors during the hottest part of the day. Ensure at-risk individuals stay indoors between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and remain protected from the sun.
#5: Take Frequent Breaks
If there is a need or want to step out in the sun, seniors should take frequent breaks when outside. Take timely rest breaks and drink water every 15-20 minutes. Make sure to go to a cooler place if you feel uneasy.
#6: Wear Lightweight Clothing
Another tip to prevent dehydration in elderly people is to wear lightweight and breathable clothing during summer. Natural fibers like cotton are an ideal choice as they circulate air throughout the body.
#7: Keep the House Cool
To beat the hot waves and rising temperatures, elderly people should keep their houses cool during the day. Using air conditioning or fans can help keep the house cool. This will assist the reduction of sweating and water loss among seniors.
#8: Monitor Fluid Loss
Regular medications can increase the risk of dehydration, so seniors must frequently monitor fluid losses and watch for the common signs of dehydration. Individuals should immediately visit a doctor if their fluid loss is significantly high.
#9: Utilize Technology & Set Water Reminders
Simply forgetting to drink water can lead to dehydration. So, utilize the benefits of technological advancements and install an application for water reminders. You can set timely reminders to stay hydrated.
#10: Hire an In-Home Caregiver if Required
To prevent dehydration in seniors, the family should ensure they are well-hydrated. Hire an in-home caregiver if needed to maintain appropriate hydration levels and other physical care.
These are some of the best summer dehydration safety tips that will help to prevent dehydration. Let's now discuss a few of the recommended fluid intakes for elderly people. Elderly people are recommended to have at least 64 ounces of fluid every day. This average intake can vary with heat and humidity. To further increase their fluid intake, elderly people should be given plenty of fluids to drink and eat food with a high water content.
In the United States, dehydration is a common problem for seniors during the summer months. The health concern of dehydration can have serious consequences on their health and well-being. Thus, to reduce the risk of dehydration, proactive steps should be taken by family members and caregivers.
We understand that taking care of older individuals can be challenging. To get in-home care & assistance for you or your loved one, you can always reach out to Home Care Partner- we believe in delivering care to your doorstep. Receive customized care to meet your needs from our certified and well-trained caregivers. Contact us today for a free assessment and a customized care plan.
Home Care Partner wants you to be confident in choosing us. We want to show that our care is unmatched!