Do you take care of your parents or grandparent at home? If so, you might be doing whatever you can to protect and ensure they are fine. One point you might forget is dehydration in the elderly. They tend to get dehydrated more than you and I. If so, it can cause serious health problems.
Tahoe Springs Water explains the signs of dehydration in the elderly and effective tips on how to avoid it. The seniors might not like the taste of tap water. Changing the source of water could be a good start to ensure hydration for your loved ones.
Why are the elderly at higher risk of dehydration?
As you age, your body becomes dehydrated quicker. It’s due to the changes in the human body and kidneys. However, it’s not the only reason. The following reason leads to dehydration in the elderly:
- Having swallowing difficulty
- Problems getting around
- Memory issues; forget to drink water, ask others to provide them water.
- The disease makes the elderly visit the bathroom a lot, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
- Hot or humid weather
Since the elderly tend not to move a lot, they might not drink enough water to avoid visiting the bathroom. So they are susceptible to dehydration more than other age groups.
Symptoms of dehydration in elderly
Dehydration could cause serious health issues if not treated quickly. The signs could include:
Mild Dehydration symptoms
- Dry tongue, skin, or mouth
- No tears when crying
- The weakness of the body
- Not regular visit of the bathroom
Severe dehydration symptoms
- Not visiting the bathroom for eight hours
- Low blood pressure
- Sunken dry eyes
- Irregular change in behavior
- Weak but rapid pulse
- No skin elasticity
- Wrinkled skin
The symptoms of dehydration for the elderly could appear differently. The list is not a definite one, and the elderly could have other symptoms.
If the seniors suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s, the sense of thirst decreases. It could make the elderly dehydrated quickly.
As the elderly might suffer from a different disease or disorder, you might mistake dehydration signs. So pay close attention to any change and symptoms on your loved ones.
Note: If the above signs didn’t get better by drinking water, visit the emergency immediately.
How much water should the elderly drink?
How much water do the elderly needs depend on:
- Health condition
- The medicines they take
The experts recommend that the seniors drink 7.1 cups of water per day. Yet, they should drink enough not to feel thirsty and be fine.
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How to help the elderly stay hydrated?
The following strategies and tips help you to prevent dehydration in senior family members. It’s recommended to begin step by step. You don’t want to annoy your loved one by pushing too hard.
Change the source of water
As you and the elderly might not like the taste of tap water, changing water can be helpful. The water market provides several different options. For instance, alkaline water, Spring Mountain water, or purified water have better taste and further hydration.
Determine which one is suitable for you and make them available at home. It can give a good cause to the elderly to drink enough water.
Before you purchase different water for the elderly, ensure it’s fine for them. The water doesn’t have problems, yet the doctor might have a different opinion.
Make water obvious at home
The science of habit says that if you want to start a new constructive habit, make it obvious. Ensure water is available to the elderly at home. They should have easy access to it whenever they want. If they have mobility problems, put the bottle aside in their bed or chair.
Buy a colorful water bottle that encourages the elderly to drink water. Make sure you refill it enough throughout the day to help hydration for the elderly.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) says that you get 20% of your water intake through food. So it is with the seniors. Water-rich food could be a healthy option to ensure hydration in the elderly. You can hit several birds with one stone. The following list of fruits are delicious and great for hydration:
Cucumber contains 95% water that is rich in:
Adding cucumber to plain water can be a delicious drink in the hot season as well.
Did you know that one average tomato provides you half a cup of water? Why not it contains 94% water. Tomato is a good source of:
- Vitamin C and K
If your elderly suffer from blood pressure, tomatoes can help them. The Consumer Report says that tomato is a powerful antioxidant as well.
If your elderly miss candy or sweet, watermelon can be a good replacement. It’s low in sugar and contains 92% water. Watermelon is rich in:
- Vitamin A, B, and C
Experts don’t yet agree that “an apple a day keeps a doctor away.” Yet, you can say that an apple a day keeps dehydration to some extent away. As you know, 85% of an apple is out of water. The antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber are what your elderly need naturally.
If you’re looking for water-rich food in winter, orange is your option. It can make a delicious source of hydration for the elderly in the cold seasons. One orange a day, you will receive more than the recommended amount of vitamin C. Orange is also rich in fiber and potassium.
Hydration is one of the several benefits of carrots. It’s not only a water-rich vegetable but a rich source of:
- Vitamin K1
- Beta carotene
No matter you are 7 or 77, you need milk to stay healthy. The treasure source of vitamin D and calcium also contains 87% water. The elderly need milk to:
- Prevent osteoporosis
- Keep muscles strong
- Maintain bone strength
The mentioned list of fruit and vegetable is not the ultimate one. You could add different fruits and vegetables to your elderly’s diet to ensure hydration. However, see if the senior is allergic to anything or not.
Change the taste of water
You can make plain water tasty with natural flavors. It gives a good feeling to drink water and avoid dehydration. You might be worried about the sugar intake in the loved ones. Natural flavors provide a delicious taste without any additives or preservatives.
The herbs you can add to plain water:
- Blood orange
- Star Anise
Again we need to mention that before adding them to the elderly’s diet, determine if they are allergic to any of them. Taking advice from health experts or a doctor is always wise.
Know what medication the elderly are taking
You know about the medicines the elderly use, you know about the side effects. For instance, a few medications cause dehydration like Bumetanide, Eplerenone, and Triamterene. Providing that you know about them in advance, you can take preventive measures to stop dehydration in the seniors.
Not just dehydration, the drugs could have other side effects. In case you are aware of them, you can do the right thing or notify the health experts in an emergency.
Avoid hot weather
The elderly might not be able to stand hot or warm weather like the young. So try to keep the temperature at home cool. Ensure air conditioning works properly and provides comfortable weather.
Air exchange is also important. Let the free air gets into the house once in a while.
When the elderly go out in the hot season, try to avoid exposure to the sun. They can not stand it like you and I. Remember that 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM might not be a good time to get the seniors out. The sun is at its highest.
Know how much water the elderly is taking
How do you ensure that the seniors are drinking enough water? You can make sure by tracking water intake.
How much water should the elderly drink depends on their situation and various elements. Yet, the recommended amount is 7.1 cups per day.
You can keep a journal and write down the amount. Water applications are also helpful for tracking. You can set alarms to drink water or eat water-rich food and vegetables.
How to treat dehydration in the elderly?
The treatment of dehydration in the elderly depends on:
- How severe is it, mild or severe.
- What is the cause
- The age and health condition
You can treat mild dehydration at home by drinking water or water-rich food. Often the patient might need to rest for a while to get better.
If the level of dehydration is moderate, you might need to visit the emergency or hospital. Yet, visiting a doctor is wise at this stage.
Visit the hospital or doctor immediately for severe dehydration.
In case the elderly had dehydration a few times, consult with a doctor even it got better by drinking water.
According to New York, more than half of Americans don’t drink enough water. You can say the situation could be worse for the elderly as they suffer :
- Mobility issue
- Forget to drink
- Changes in the body’s mechanism
- Take medicines
You have a senior family member at home; you need to take the threat of dehydration seriously. It can cause severe health problems for them.
The article brought you tips and strategies to avoid dehydration in the elderly. You can take them up in your daily routines to ensure your relatives stay healthy.
As the text explained, changing tap water is an effective strategy to make the seniors drink enough water.
Tahoe Springs Water has been providing alkaline, Spring Mountain, and purified water to Las Vegas since 1994.
Call us now at (702) 623-9823 to order the water you want for your elderly now. Please go through the website’s menu to know more about the other benefits of water options for your family.