Dehydration in seniors can be potentially life-threatening, especially during the summer when the temperatures soar. Here are 7 hydration tips for seniors that caregivers can use to help the elderly stay hydrated all year round.
Caregivers can help seniors stay hydrated by making sure they:
- Take frequent drink breaks throughout the day.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water - that’s the daily recommended intake of fluids and water for those that are not on a restricted fluid diet.
- Drink 1-2 glasses of water first thing upon waking up.
- Add extra flavour to their water.
- Eat fruits with high water content.
- Keep cool - stay in air conditioned spaces or cooling centres during heat waves or heat alerts.
- Reduce sun exposure.
As caregivers, it’s also important to check in with seniors frequently since the elderly don’t always recognize the signs of dehydration. Make sure they’re drinking plenty of fluids and keeping cool.
Younger people have 60-70 per cent water content in their bodies, while seniors only have 50-60 per cent or less. Elderly risk of dehydration is higher because they have less water in their bodies and may be taking medications that make them lose water.
As a caregiver, it’s important to recognize the signs of dehydration in seniors because the elderly may not always get their bodies’ signals to replace the water they lose through perspiration and activity.
Signs of dehydration
To recognize dehydration in seniors, look out for the following:
- Dry mouth or throat
- Boredom or disinterest
- Dry mucous membranes
- Decreased or concentrated (dark-coloured) urine
- Decreased tears
If you see an elderly person exhibiting any of these symptoms of dehydration, speak to his or her health care provider.