When it’s hot outside, it’s important for everyone—from age 1 to 101—to hydrate properly. However, for the very young and very old, becoming dehydrated can lead to much more than just a sudden need for water or a brief rest—it can lead to serious medical problems.
Hydration for seniors especially is important, but sometimes simply saying, “Hey, you should drink more water” is not quite enough to do the trick. Not only are there hydration tips for seniors that every caregiver or family member should know about, but there are also signs of dehydration in seniors that everyone should be aware of. Read on to learn about seniors and hydration, symptoms of dehydration in seniors, and how you can help if there’s an emergency.
Hydration for Seniors: Why the Elderly Are More at Risk
While everyone is at risk of becoming dehydrated during the summer if they don’t drink enough water, hydration for seniors is especially important and lack of water can become a medical emergency.
Why Is Dehydration a Problem?
As people age, the ability to conserve water is affected. Also, electrolyte imbalances can change over the years. Water requirements typically increase, not decrease. Hydration for seniors is important as a senior doesn’t retain fluids in the same way that a younger person does. Sometimes, this is apparent if the patient is suffering from incontinence, but it may not always be so obvious. Causes of dehydration in the elderly can be many things, from incontinence to imbalances, to simply just not drinking the recommended amount of water each day.
Hydration Tips for Seniors: How to Notice Dehydration
Whether you are a senior yourself or take care of someone to which hydration for seniors is important, it’s a good idea to know what dehydration in senior citizens looks like. Keep on the lookout for:
- No urination at all or very little
- Urine with a pungent smell
- Darkly-colored or orange urine
- TachycardiaWeak pulse
- Cold hands and feet
All of the above signs could easily be effects of dehydration in the elderly. Once symptoms begin to appear, this is when dehydration in seniors may require immediate care. The first thing to do, sensibility, is to make sure that the person drinks some water or drinks such as Pedialyte, in order to restore any electrolyte imbalance. If this isn’t possible, the best hydration tip for seniors who are visibly dehydrated is to take them to the nearest emergency room for intravenous (IV) fluids. If the electrolyte imbalance is not corrected, seizures may occur.
Hydration Tips for Seniors: Preventing Dehydration
The best thing to do is to prevent dehydration before it happens. Most adults should drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. This can be tough to track, so it’s a good idea to ask a friend, family member, or caregiver to help. If you’re a caregiver taking care of a patient, presentation is everything, Provide them with cups that are easy to drink out of, are aesthetically pleasing, and help them enjoy drinking water and staying hydrated. Also, make sure cups are clean, sterile, and free from germs, as food safety is also imperative. A good hydration tip for seniors is ensuring that they are actually enjoying the act of drinking water. For some, it’s a cheerfully-colored cup.
If you want more tips on how to prevent dehydration or would like information on how mobility products can help you or your patient live their best life, contact Williams Lift Co. today to learn more about our wheelchair ramps, stairlifts, and other products.