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Keeping seniors hydrated

With the warmer weather starting to make an appearance, we’ve mentioned how it’s great to get some fresh air, and even shared some activities you can both enjoy to get outside this summer. But while you’re enjoying the outdoors and the sunshine, it’s also important to think about hydration.

Not getting enough fluids when it’s hot outside can pose serious health problems for anyone, regardless of age. Seniors are particularly at risk though, as when we age, our ability to conserve water is reduced. In addition, certain medical conditions can affect the body’s ability to retain water, as can medications taken for these conditions.

What are the signs of dehydration?

The most common signs of dehydration are:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Typically, these are the earlier signs of dehydration, but if left unchecked, more serious symptoms will appear, and include:

  • Little or no urination
  • Urine is dark or amber in colour
  • Forgetfulness or confusion
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart-rate
  • Weak pulse
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Dry skin that stays folded when pinched.

If it’s still not addressed, severe dehydration can result in seizures, a reduction of blood volume in the body, kidney failure, and even coma or death. Needless to say, it’s very important to watch out for the early signs of dehydration before it gets too serious!

How to prevent dehydration

Drinking plenty of fluids, and eating foods that have a high water content are the best way to remain hydrated. Fruits like melons, berries, apples, oranges, and peaches, and vegetables such as lettuce, cucumbers, celery, and cauliflower are all great foods with a high water content. Avoid an excess of caffeinated drinks, as they cause frequent urination and increase dehydration. If water isn’t appetizing, feel free to use powdered drink mixes as long as you don’t add any additional sugar.

While there are a lot of benefits to being outside for seniors, there’s also a greater risk for dehydration – so ensure your time outside this summer is safe and fun by keeping in mind a senior’s added need for hydration.

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