Hydration is incredibly important for everyone, and more so for older adults. Our Senior community is prone to more effect of heat and therefore remain at a higher risk of dehydration. With time, many seniors tend to experience less thirst. This causes them to intake lesser liquid unless they are very thirsty, and the body starts showing desperate signs. The Body’s ability to conserve water gets reduced with age.
Dehydration is when the body doesn’t get the required/adequate amount of liquid that is needed to function in a proper way. There are several causes which leads to dehydration like heat, medications, heavy physical activity or any kind of illness. It is paramount to understand the reasons and symptoms of dehydration and then the solution to curb it. Although summer is the time when body gets dehydrated more easily but do not forget that your body can be dehydrated in cold too.
Water is what keeps our body clean, provides nutrients to the body, and helps in removing waste. Getting the correct amount of fluid will help seniors have a healthier body and more energy and spirit. Our body always gives us signs to let us know what it is missing or what it requires. Some clear signs of light dehydration are:
- Yellow Urine
- Dry Skin/chapped lips
- Dry Mouth/Thirst
- Cramps in Muscles
- Dizziness & Confusion
- Cold Hands
- Increased heart rate
- Faster breathing
- Weaker Pulse
- Low Blood Pressure
Moderate dehydration has severe symptoms like :
- Behaviour change
- sunken eyes & Dark circles and lead a healthy life.
- incoherent thoughts
- Lack of urination for a longer period.
- Slower heart rate
- No sweat
- Kidney failure
Things that seniors can do keep themselves hydrated.
- A good balance with the fluid intake and the output works well in remaining hydrated. If the senior is urinating more frequently or sweating a lot, then their liquid intake should increase accordingly.
- Include fruits & vegetables with higher water content in the diet. Edibles like cucumbers, tomatoes & watermelons have good water capacity in them and can be included in the diet.
- Have a schedule for liquid intake and stick to it. Put alarms and set timers to remind yourself to drink water so that you do not miss it.
- Look for alternatives healthy fluid sources if water is not the only thing you want to drink. There are plenty of sweet & savoury alternatives available if plain water is not something a senior wants to have all the time. Although, It is important to pick these liquids cleverly. Water flavoured with fruit, mint and lemon enhances the taste and make it more likeable. Soups are another alternative which helps in increasing the liquid intake to the body. Orange juice, coconut water and other different kind of juice are effective in hydrating the body. On the other hand, caffeine & sugar are content of many beverages, but they are no better than fresh fruits and veggies hence can be likely avoided or be taken in a controlled manner. Here are some of the easily available edibles and their water content percentage in tabular form.
|Edible||Water content percent|
- Sometimes we skip drinking water because it is not easily accessible. Keep the bottles and jars filled with close to where you are. Like, beside your bed on a table or anywhere within a hand reach so that you can always take a sip whenever want to. Have a bright colour drink-ware to add some brightness to the surrounding.
- Use of moisturiser or any water-based product for the skin also helps in hydrating dry skin.
- Ensure the urine is light in colour which depicts that the liquid intake in the body is correct.
- Consult a doctor to understand the right amount of liquid your body needs and whether that is happening or not.
- Dress according to the weather. If it is summers, wear breathable fabrics. These fabrics allow the body to breathe naturally as well as sweat properly.
- Do not hesitate to consult your doctor and get thing clarified.
With these helpful guide, seniors can take care of their own bodyand lead a healthy lifeor the care givers can be careful about the seniors they are looking after.