The risk of dehydration among seniors

Did you know that seniors are more susceptible to dehydration? This is because aging causes the body’s thirst signals to weaken, thereby increasing the risk of not drinking enough.

In addition, the kidneys become less effective at conserving water when eliminating waste. Plus, mobility and memory problems can make it harder for older adults to drink fluids regularly.

Dehydration is also a side effect of medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease.

SYMPTOMS A dry mouth and thick saliva are common symptoms of mild dehydration. Other warning signs include reduced urination, having dark yellow urine, getting a headache and experiencing muscle cramps.

More severe dehydration can result in an inability to urinate, low blood pressure, an elevated heart rate and convulsions. Weakness, irritability, dizziness and confusion are also symptoms.

PREVENTION The most effective way to prevent dehydration is to consume enough fluids, and seniors shouldn’t wait until they feel thirsty to drink. It’s a good idea for them to always have water within easy reach, drink gradually throughout the day and include a beverage with every meal.

There are also a variety of foods that can help with hydration, including most fruits and vegetables. A bowl of low-sodium broth is a good source of electrolytes and a soothing alternative to water on a chilly afternoon. In the summer, consuming ice pops and smoothies may help counteract excessive perspiration.

It can also be beneficial for seniors to keep fruit juice or a sports drink on hand to quickly replenish fluid levels if they experience mild dehydration. Moderate to severe dehydration, however, is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate hospitalization.

Chateau Glengarry offers relaxed, safe, AFFORDABLE and comfortable retirement living and respite care in a beautiful setting in Eastern Ontario. For more information or to book a tour, call Diane at 613-525-4440 or email: manager@chateauglengarry.com; info@chateauglengarry.ca.

 

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