Preventing Senior Dehydration during the Hottest Summer Months

August 6th, 2014 by John Wilson

Dehydration and senior living don't match.

Senior care services watch the elderly for signs of dehydration.

Dehydration during the summer is a serious concern for people of all ages, especially in older patients. Many elderly people do not realize they are dehydrated and play it off to other signs of aging and illness they may be experiencing; however, it is essential that older citizens carefully monitor their hydration levels during high heat. Senior care services should be especially conscious of the problems of dehydration because according to the University of Chicago Medical Center, almost half of all heat-related deaths in the United States were among people over 65.

Causes of Dehydration

As we age, our bodies have a more difficult time regulating temperature and staying hydrated. For senior living facilities, this can become a large problem for their clients. Many medications taken by older people can also affect hydration and thirst levels, which make it harder for citizens in senior care services to monitor their water intake levels. Aging kidneys also lose function, causing a reduction in water retained while the body is dehydrated. These issues in older citizens can make it difficult to tell when they are dehydrated, leading to further water loss and serious health issues.

Impact on Health

Even minor dehydration can spell serious trouble for people in senior living centers. Not only is it harder for elderly people to tell when they are dehydrated, but they can easily suffer from health problems related to dehydration. Because seniors 65 and older are likely to have medical issues already, adding more health problems, such as dehydration, can further impact the health of patients in senior care services, causing problems like:

·         Urinary tract infections

·         Low blood pressure

·         Confusion

·         Falling

·         Impair mental function

·         Loss of consciousness

Lack of hydration can also lead to further heart problems for those already suffering from cardiac ailments. The less water in the body, the harder it is for the heart to pump adequate amounts of blood through the body. This can have dangerous consequences for elderly people with heart issues.

Prevention

The best way to negate the effects of dehydration on the elderly is to prevent dehydration from occurring altogether. This may prove challenging for older citizens who are on medication that causes dehydration or those whose health makes drinking adequate amounts of water difficult. Providing fluids regularly throughout the day, even for people who don’t feel like they need it, will help keep dehydration and other problems at bay. Keeping bottles of water in easy-to-reach and highly visible places also encourages an increase in fluid consumption. The more access seniors have to cool, drinkable fluids, the more likely they will be to consume enough and avoid dehydration.

Preventing dehydration can help the elderly stay healthy and happy, while avoiding issues caused by inadequate water levels in the body. It is important to stay hydrated during the summer months when the heat makes it harder to regulate hydration.

If you are looking for senior care services for your loved ones, contact us. Our Oklahoma senior living facility will help keep your elderly family members healthy and comfortable during their stay.

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