Florida is known as the Sunshine State for a reason, and there’s nothing like spending a summer day outdoors soaking up the sun’s invigorating rays. But for many Floridians aged 65-and-over, the sun’s intense heat can also quickly place them at risk for dehydration. If you’re currently serving as a caregiver for an aging in place elderly loved one, there are several proven ways to keep a senior hydrated so they can continue enjoying the rejuvenating Florida sunshine for many years to come.
Why are Seniors at Risk for Dehydration?
According to healthcare professionals, it’s easy for the average senior to get dehydrated because they have a diminished sense of thirst brought on by aging. If they don’t take in enough fluids, the body’s water and sodium balance that regulates various body functions gets thrown off. Other dehydration risk factors that seniors face include:
- Certain medical conditions like diabetes, the flu and digestive disorders
- Reduced kidney function
- Taking medications for high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney or liver problems that increase fluid loss, like diuretics
- Fear of incontinence which causes a senior to drink less so they won’t have to urinate
Symptoms of Dehydration
Dehydration can make seniors feel weak and dizzy, which increases their risk of falling. In addition, these are some of the other common symptoms of dehydration:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Rapid heart rate
- Decreased urine output
- Dry skin
Pre-existing medical conditions, like diabetes, heart disease and kidney problems, can also be made worse by dehydration.
Tips to Keep a Senior Hydrated
According to WebMD, our bodies are roughly 60% water, and it’s used in nearly every single body function. Water flushes toxins from your organs, carries nutrients to your cells, cushions your joints, and helps you digest food. WebMD also points out that the average adult should consume 2 to 3 liters (9 to 13 cups) of water daily or its equivalent (More on that in a moment). But for a senior who’s spending several hours in the hot summer sun, those are the minimums. So, how do you help an older person who may not be feeling thirsty take in enough liquids?
Getting a senior to chug a bottle of water isn’t easy. Instead, find some other healthy and delicious ways to get them the fluids they need. When taking your elderly mom to the beach, bring along some fresh watermelon wedges or other water-based fruits and veggies. Once mom gets home, make sure she drinks a large glass of all-natural fruit juice.
Avoid Beverages with Caffeine
Several popular beverages act as natural diuretics because they contain caffeine, like coffee, tea and carbonated colas. Those further dehydrate the body, so switch them out for healthier alternatives like water infused with electrolytes or vitamin-rich juice mixes.
Use Visual Reminders
Keep track of your loved one’s fluid intake by placing a countdown chart on the fridge with a daily goal of at least 8 glasses of water. To help make the countdown fun, reward their successes with a trip to their favorite beach or pool.
Make it Convenient
If your senior’s bedroom is upstairs and the kitchen’s downstairs, conveniently keep some bottled water and glasses next to their bed. You can also invest in a water dispenser that can be placed in an area of the home that’s convenient. Always keep hydrating snacks in their fridge, like sliced fruit, so that they’re handy throughout the day.
When incontinence is keeping your loved one from drinking enough, encourage them to drink most of the liquids earlier in the day, and to use the bathroom right before going to bed. If needed, there are disposable adult undergarments available that can be worn at night for added security.
We Help Manatee County, FL, Seniors Stay Hydrated
Keeping a senior loved one hydrated in the hot Florida sun can be difficult, especially when you have your own household to manage or live too far away. When you need a hand, call First In Care. Our compassionate and highly trained caregivers understand the importance of keeping seniors hydrated so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. While in the home, our carefully screened aides can also assist with incontinence care, light housework, meals, medication reminders, transportation and companionship.
And, all our fully licensed and insured senior home care services can be individually tailored in an affordable package to put your mind at ease. To schedule a FREE, in-home assessment with First In Care in Manatee County, FL, please visit: www.firstincare.com now!