Not taking enough fluids, especially during warm weather, can pose severe health problems for anyone, but the elderly in particular are at higher risks of dehydration. If severe dehydration goes unchecked, it can lead to seizures because of electrolyte imbalance, a reduction in the blood volume, kidney failure, inflammation, coma or even death.
Why Seniors are at Higher Risks of Dehydration
Seniors are particularly at high risk of mild to moderate dehydration during prolonged warm weather seasons. This is because as we age, our bodies' ability to conserve water is reduced. In fact, studies show that most Canadian seniors are not drinking as much water as they should. And this has brought about adverse physical and mental effects that could have been avoided with a glass of water. It is therefore essential that we pay attention to our dietary practices and drink more, often, especially as we age.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
As a natural part of the aging process, our bodies undergo changes that increase our risks of being dehydrated. With advancing years, seniors can lose their sense of thirst and tend to drink less. Well, some of the signs and symptoms you can be on the lookout for include:
* Decreased urine output,
* Dry, brown tongue, or mucous membranes,
* Constipation and impaction,
* Increased thirst,
* Dark or amber-colored urine,
* Rapid breathing and heartbeat,
* Low blood pressure,
* Irritability, dizziness, and headaches.
How to Prevent Dehydration for Seniors
For most of us, drinking plenty of fluids is the ideal way of keeping our bodies adequately hydrated. However, this amount may be still insufficient. Especially for seniors, sometimes things become worse. They are much easier to forget drink to water until they feel extremely thirsty or quite offer they just refuse to drink the plain water. To keep our elderly loved ones adequately hydrated, therefore:
* Caregiver needs to remind them to drink water frequently.
* A good rule of thumb is to try balancing their fluid intake with output.
* Water isn’t the only option. If they refuse the plain water, they can try foods with high water contents, which include cucumber, tomato, watermelon and bell pepper etc.
Being healthy should be at the top of our priorities. But often, we concentrate more on nutrition balance that we forget about the proper hydration. Especially for seniors’ care, they need to be reminded of water drinking, balance the fluid intake with output and monitor the alternatives they opt for to replace the plain water, for example foods with high water contents, water exhancers, fruit-infused water etc. MED e-care’s newly launched POC module (mainly used in long-term care and retirement homes) can easily serve all the purposes as mentioned, it can keep track of their daily fluid intake and adopt dietary practices that provide them with enough fluids to keep them adequately hydrated.
Would you like to learn more about how MED e-care can help you? Please don't hesitate to "book a presentation" or "ask a question".