Our body is more than fifty percent water, so it is always important to stay properly hydrated. Good hydration, however, is more than just drinking water. Here are a few essential hydration tips for seniors.
Why Are Seniors at Risk for Dehydration?
As we age, our ability to regulate our thirst and hunger change. This means that seniors are less likely to notice that they need a sip of water or are missing critical electrolytes from their diet until they begin to feel unwell or extremely thirsty.
Certain illnesses or medications can also affect our body’s ability to process fluids, leading to a higher risk of dehydration within a shorter period.
Signs of Dehydration
Signs of dehydration in the elderly include:
- Feelings of extreme thirst
- Feeling unwell or tired
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Dark-colored urine
- Low blood pressure
Dehydration and Illness
Seniors who suffer from cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s or dementia are more likely to become dehydrated because they may forget to eat and drink water.
It is also essential to be aware that certain factors increase the risk of dehydration. These include fever, frequent urination, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive sweating. If you have senior suffering from excessive fluid loss, it is crucial to supplement with electrolyte-rich fluids, like a food supplement or even Pedialyte.
How Long Does It Take to Rehydrate?
If you’re caring for a senior who has become dehydrated, it can take as long as 36 hours to replace the missing water and electrolytes fully. However, they should start feeling better within the first several hours.
When to Call a Doctor
If you are caring for a senior who is lethargic, unresponsive, experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, or has not been able to take or hold down fluids for 24 hours, call a doctor right away.
If you’re caring for a senior, there are a few things that you, as a caregiver, can do to help prevent dehydration.
- Schedule Drinks: Set a regular schedule for drinking water and other liquids. Even though you don’t feel thirsty, having a regular schedule can help prevent dehydration.
- Add Fluids to the Diet: Foods such as broths, soups, and jellies help promote rehydration. Adding these foods to a senior’s diet can help them remain healthy, especially if they are not drinking enough water.
- Make Water More Interesting: If you’re caring for a senior who doesn’t like drinking water, try adding a bit of flavor. You can also opt for tea and other low-sugar drinks for variety.
- Add Electrolytes: If you are caring for a senior who is ill, consider adding electrolyte-rich drinks to their diet. Electrolyte powders and Pedialyte can help seniors regain electrolytes.
- Get Others Involved: If you are caring for a senior at risk for dehydration, get other caregivers and family involved to ensure that they are drinking enough fluids.
Whether you’re a professional caregiver or are simply caring for a family member in need, shop Simply Medical for a full array of dehydration prevention and other senior care products today.