Proper hydration is important for everyone, but even more so for seniors. Seniors typically have less body mass than younger people, meaning they have a smaller reserve of fluids. This means that dehydration is more common in elderly and can also come on more quickly. As we head into warmer months, it’s important to understand what dehydration can lead to and how to avoid it.
Without proper hydration, the kidneys can’t properly filter the blood in the body. This can lead to kidney issues which can lead to confusion, lethargy and ultimately kidney failure.
For seniors that already suffer from diabetes, dehydration can be particularly dangerous. Dehydration in diabetics can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis which causes naturally occurring acids in the body to build up and potentially cause organ failure or death.
Without proper hydration, the blood in the body can thicken which causes the heart to go into overdrive to circulate blood throughout the body. This can lead to heart attacks and even heart failure.
As was mentioned, dehydration in seniors can progress quickly so here are a few warning signs to keep an eye out for:
To combat signs of dehydration, try drinking an 8oz glass of water every 15-20 minutes until symptoms have decreased.
Seniors should ensure they are drinking at least eight 8oz glasses of water each day. Try filling a large pitcher or water bottle with water to make it easy to accomplish drinking 64oz of water in a day. Another option is to add flavor enhancers or infuse water with fruits and herbs to encourage seniors to want to stay hydrated.
Additionally, fruits like melons have high water content and can aid in keeping seniors hydrated.
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