We all know that feeling that happens after a hard day’s work in the sun. You come inside and make a mad dash for the fridge or the sink, craving nothing more than the biggest glass of water you can find. Being able to feel thirst like this is crucial to avoiding dehydration, and for most of us, it isn’t a problem. However, for senior citizens, dehydration poses a much greater threat. As we age, our ability to feel thirst diminishes. As our thirst ques become less accurate, the risk of dehydration becomes greater.
But why is dehydration such a big deal? For young people, mild dehydration is easy to recover from. For seniors, on the other hand, it can be a much more serious issue. Dehydration is the number one cause for hospitalization among senior citizens. It can cause headaches, fatigue, disorientation, and even fainting. Fainting is especially dangerous as falls can cause serious injuries to elderly people. Quite a few of these symptoms can easily be confused as part of other medical conditions, which can lead to them going undetected. Being aware of the causes and signs of dehydration is key to preventing extreme symptoms and lasting health issues.
Chronic dehydration can reduce the quality of life for seniors. Water is necessary for just about every bodily function, but this can become a problem as body composition changes. When you’re young, your body retains water easily, however as you age, your body holds onto less water making you more susceptible to dehydration. Then, when your thirst ques become skewed, the risk is amplified.
How to Prevent Dehydration in Seniors
Most of us learn about preventing dehydration in our childhood. The classic rule is eight eight-ounce glasses every day, which is great because it’s easy to remember. It’s a good general rule, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t universal. Some people can stay hydrated with less, but you may need more on hot days or when you’re outside for long periods of time.
If you’re caring for a senior, helping them stay hydrated can seem tedious, but there are a few helpful tricks that can help. First, is mixing up their drinks. Water is the best hydrator, but we all know it can get boring after a while. One good alternative is juice, as it has a naturally high water content while still tasting good. However, juice has its downsides as well. It’s naturally high in sugar, which can be a serious problem if the senior you’re taking care of has a medical condition like diabetes. Watering some juice down is a good way to boost the water content while lowering sugar intake. Foods like fruit and veggies also have a naturally high amount of water, so incorporating them into your loved one’s diet can help boost hydration. They also have the added bonus of being rich in important vitamins and minerals.
Another great way to keep seniors from getting dehydration is to make sure that they are drinking continuously throughout the day. Many seniors struggle to drink a full glass of water with a meal as it makes them feel full or bloated. Having a nice tumbler or water bottle around for them throughout the day is a great way to keep them hydrated without that discomfort.
Taking care of an elderly loved one can be a stressful task, and you should always take the advice of their medical professionals. Dehydration can be a serious risk for seniors and knowing the causes and symptoms is important for prevention. For more help with senior care, go to Countryside Hearing Aid Services.
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