Risk of Dehydration for Seniors Increases During Heat Wave
Temperatures are soaring in Southern California and as the temperature soars, so does the risk of growing dehydrated. Seniors are especially susceptible to dehydration for a variety of reasons related to physical changes as we age and chronic illness. Often medications that many seniors take, especially diuretics and laxatives, can lead to issues with dehydration.
People with cognitive difficulties, including dementia, are especially prone to becoming dehydrated because they ignore the signals for thirst and might just forget to eat or drink altogether.
Here are some tips for helping senior loved ones stay hydrated:
- Find non-alcoholic, caffeine-free beverages they enjoy and keep them nearby and in reach
- Experiment with fruit and herb-infused water (lemon and basil, lemon and cucumber, mint and strawberry, for starters)
- Encourage snacking on high water-content fruits and vegetables like watermelon, oranges, celery, carrots
- Try some other options for hydration include cold soups; sports drinks and smoothies
Be aware of the symptoms of dehydration which include dry mouth, very dark/concentrated urine, sunken eyes, lethargy, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, confusion and dry skin. If you see these in a senior loved one, provide small, frequent amounts of fluids. If symptoms don’t improve, call the doctor or go to the ER, since severe dehydration can result in serious complications. Stay cool this summer and drink up!