The summer brings warmer weather, long days at the beach, afternoons at the pool, outdoor adventures, and a greater risk for dehydration. With the hotter temps, it’s crucial for seniors to stay hydrated for short-term and long-term health and wellness. Dehydration occurs when the body does not have enough water to function properly. When the body doesn’t have the fluids it needs to operate, it can have a negative impact on organs, leading to kidney stones, constipation, and liver, joint, and muscle damage.
Learn how you can recognize signs of dehydration in yourself or a loved one and how you can stay properly hydrated while taking advantage of summer fun.
Signs of Dehydration in Seniors
Dehydration can affect people of all ages. According to a 2014 study, seniors are at a higher risk for dehydration and those with dementia were six times more likely to be dehydrated than those without the disease. Aging can cause seniors to lose their sense of thirst because of social isolation or forgetfulness. Additionally, some seniors are more hesitant to drink fluids due to incontinence issues while others are on medications that can cause dehydration more quickly.
Being dehydrated can have a serious impact on short-term and long-term health, with chronic dehydration leading to an increased risk of kidney stones, constipation, and even muscle, joint, and liver damage.
Know the signs and symptoms of dehydration to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the dangers of the summer heat. These include:
- Dry mouth
- A headache
- Muscle cramps
- Less frequent urination
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sunken eyes
- Irritability or confusion
If you notice these in yourself or a loved one, get out of the heat, sip water, and seek medical attention, if necessary.
8 Ways to Avoid Dehydration in the Heat
Thankfully, there are simple ways to avoid dehydration and still enjoy the great outdoors. Here are 8 ways to stay safe this summer:
1. Avoid sports drinks and other sweetened fruit juices
Often loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, these drinks can dehydrate you more quickly.
2. Invest in a reusable water bottle and carry it with you
3. Drink coconut water
Coconut water is anti-inflammatory, full of amino acids, and antioxidants. It does contain sugar so drink in moderation.
4. Drink vegetable and fruit smoothies
Fresh produce has a high water content and mixing them in a smoothie is a great way to stay hydrated while also taking in all the nutrients of fresh produce.
5. Drink water before you feel thirsty
Thirst is a sign of dehydration so if you are feeling thirsty, you are already on the path toward dehydration.
6. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
While and iced coffee may feel refreshing at first, caffeine and alcoholic beverages can actually cause dehydration.
7. Drink water throughout the day
Drink water throughout the day instead of chugging a mass amount of water in one sitting.
8. Listen to your body
Remove yourself from the heat and seek water at the first signs of dehydration.
How do you stay safe from dehydration in the summer heat? Share your tips with us in the comments below.