Hydration is essential at any age. For seniors, dehydration is a more serious issue since they are more likely to become dehydrated, less likely to notice their dehydration, and less able to recover from the resulting health complications. Here at Cape Elizabeth, we understand the risks of dehydration in seniors and know what steps to take to keep our residents safe. Keep reading to learn more about what we do and how you can keep your aging loved one safely hydrated at home.
Reasons for Dehydration
Seniors may become dehydrated due to medications, diabetes, poor kidney function, and a general decrease in fluid reserves in their bodies. Seniors may also forget to drink water or even lose their body’s thirst response. Because of this, it’s up to caregivers to closely monitor seniors for dehydration and take steps to correct any problems that may arise.
The Dangers of Dehydration
Dehydration in seniors can lead to urination and kidney problems, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, fainting, muscle cramping, vomiting, seizures, heatstroke, and more. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary to deal with the health complications resulting from dehydration. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that “between 6% and 30% of people aged 65 years and older who are hospitalized are dehydrated.” Even if dehydration doesn’t land a senior in the hospital on its own, it can exacerbate existing health conditions and make recovery harder.
Ways to Keep Seniors Hydrated
Proper hydration keeps the body at the right temperature, lubricates the joints, protects the organs, and more. If you are caring for an aging loved one, their hydration should be one of your top priorities, especially in the summertime when heat increases the need for water. Take a look at some of our tips for keeping them hydrated this summer:
- Consider all fluid sources: While drinking water is the most obvious way to stay hydrated, other fluids and foods can help. Juice and tea are great ways to encourage hydration, as are foods that are high in water, like cucumbers, popsicles, celery, apples, watermelon, broths or soups, milkshakes, smoothies, and more.
- Keep things cool: If you’re able to regulate the temperature with air conditioning, this is a vital step towards mitigating the impact of the summer sun on your loved one’s hydration levels.
- Keep track of fluid intake: It may be easy to forget to keep your elderly loved one hydrated, especially if they don’t ask for water or even feel thirsty. Keep track of how much they drink each day or give them a certain amount of water and ensure they finish it by the end of the day.
At Cape Elizabeth, we ensure that our residents stay cool and hydrated not just during the summer but throughout the year. Our attention to residents’ hydration is just one of the benefits of assisted living.
Located in Cape Elizabeth, ME, we are an assisted living community that has been supporting and caring for seniors in the area for more than 20 years. Please let us know if you are interested in receiving more information about or touring our assisted living community.