Summer is in full swing, and with it comes high temperatures. We all need to be drinking more water in this heat, but it's critical for our seniors. Our loved ones are at higher risk of dehydration for several reasons: a senior's sense of thirst diminishes with age as well as their bodies' ability to conserve water. Add to that, certain medications may disrupt a senior's ability to retain water. If your loved one as dementia, they may forget to eat or drink. Water is certainly important but it doesn't have to be just water. Try some of these ideas to keep your loved one hydrated:
1. Coffee, tea, sweetened drinks, fruit juice as well as any fruits and/or vegetables because they contain water.
2. Try offering drinks beverages at different temperatures.
3. Try something savory such as broth.
4. Make popsicles - yum
5. Offer smoothies, milkshakes, Ensure, sports drinks, etc.
It's important to watch for the signs of dehydration so you can catch it before it becomes critical.
Dry or sticky mouth
Not peeing very much
Dark yellow pee
Dry, cool skin
Keeping an eye out for these more subtle, early signs that a senior needs to up their fluid intake is crucial. Always keep in mind that thirst is not usually a valid indicator, because a person who feels thirsty may already be dehydrated. Other signs to look for include headache, constipation, muscle cramps, dry mouth and tongue, and sleepiness or lethargy.
If you have concerns, it's always good to contact a doctor or health professional. Stay cool this summer and keep hydrated.