Dehydration occurs when the body does not receive enough water or fluids. A UCLA study found that 40% of seniors may be chronically under-hydrated, making it extremely important to be educated on the risks, symptoms, and steps to prevent dehydration. Drinking water prevents severe health conditions in seniors and includes other benefits. Staying hydrated balances electrolytes in the body, increases brain function, and contributes to better kidney and digestive health.
Risks of Dehydration
Seniors are more at risk for dehydration than other age groups because their bodies hold less water, have a lower thirst response, and kidney function is decreased. Certain medications with side effects like sweating and diarrhea can also cause dehydration. Some of the risks of dehydration include:
- Decrease in bodily fluids
- Heat stroke
- Urinary tract infections
- Kidney stones/failure
Some of the warning signs to look out for are:
- Darker urine
- Dry mouth
- Muscle cramping
- Feelings of weakness
It is imperative to address these symptoms as soon as they are present. Prolonged severe dehydration causes low blood pressure, difficulty walking, convulsions, severe cramps, and/or a bloated stomach. These more serious symptoms can lead to health complications, so consult with a physician if these symptoms appear.
There are many simple steps seniors can take to ensure that they remain hydrated.
- Make sure to drink water throughout the whole day. It is generally recommended to drink one third of a person’s body weight in ounces of water, but it is important to consult with a trusted physician to figure out what is best.
- Take small sips frequently throughout the day, rather than drinking a glass all at once.
- Include foods with high water content such as cucumbers, celery, watermelon, and broths/soups with low sodium.
- If seniors know they will be exposed to heat for prolonged periods of time, plan ahead and drink more water to mitigate the risk of dehydration.
- Similarly, drink more water when feeling ill with symptoms like fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, to stay hydrated.
Hydrated and Healthy at Wesley Enhanced Living
At Wesley Enhanced Living, our team of highly trained professionals ensure that seniors stay hydrated and healthy. Discover why our senior living communities are perfect for you! Contact us about our Independent Living, Personal Care, and Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing options today!
Wesley Enhanced Living provides high-quality senior living retirement communities for you or your loved ones. Contact one of our Philadelphia-area locations and find out why our seniors love where they live. Our staff is happy to discuss your elder’s needs or your own and inform you of our range of services. Virtual tours are also available. Call us today at 1-866-644-0939 for more information.