As your loved ones may be spending more time outdoors, it’s important to be sure that they are staying hydrated. In the elderly, thirst is not always the best indicator for the need for water. It may not be until other symptoms arise that dehydration is detected.
There are many reasons that elderly people can become dehydrated, including sweating, diarrhea, blood loss, diabetes, fever, increased urination, or side effects from prescription medication. Sometimes dehydration occurs for simple reasons like travel and being away from home, or changing routines.
Some symptoms to look out for include:
- Extreme thirst, Dryness of mouth
- Less frequent or dark-colored urination
- Dizziness or Weakness
- Dry and sunken eyes with few or no tears
- Rapid but weak pulse, Breathing faster than normal
- Wrinkled skin; no elasticity
- Severe cramping and muscle contractions in limbs, back and stomach
Some tips for staying hydrated during the summer months:
- Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Wear cool, light, breathable clothing when in the sunlight
- Plan your outdoor activity during the cool part of the day
- Use a fan or air conditioner
- Drink plenty of water
If you notice that your elderly friend or parent’s intake is below what is required, encourage them to increase the amount they drink gradually. Take them to the doctor if you notice any symptoms of dehydration.