Scorching summer temperatures have led to heat advisories and warnings in many cities across the country. Too much heat can be dangerous at any age, but is especially concerning for older adults. As we age, our bodies find it more difficult to cope with extreme heat. Seniors may experience dizziness, fainting, or heat stroke if appropriate steps aren’t taken when the weather turns hot.
Dehydration is one of the top ten causes of hospitalization among the elderly, although it is easily the most preventable. As we grow older, our ability to detect thirst decreases. When seniors only drink liquids when they feel thirsty, they are likely not taking in the amount of fluids their bodies need. Especially at risk are seniors who live alone. Families and caregivers must be diligent about keeping seniors hydrated. Caregivers who rely on a homecare system or homecare software such as ClearCare Online can set daily tasks to remind their senior clients to drink plenty of water.
Tips on Staying Well Hydrated
Hydration is important year-round, but it becomes especially crucial during the hot summer months. It is recommended to drink at least one cup of water for every 20 pounds of body weight daily, which amounts to approximately 6 to 8 glasses each day. If much time will be spent outdoors, this number should be increased. Caregivers can use their homecare system or homecare software to set the following daily reminders:
- Give seniors a glass of water each hour
- Make sure liquids are easily accessible when the senior will be alone
- Provide water during each meal
- Suggest fruits and vegetables with high water content
Family members and caregivers should also encourage seniors to avoid alcohol, as this causes significant dehydration.
Signs of Dehydration
In addition to reminding seniors to drink the appropriate amounts of water each day, caregivers should be on the lookout for symptoms of dehydration. Notations can be made in ClearCare Onilne’s homecare system or homecare software to monitor symptoms and take necessary action if they worsen. Signs a senior is not getting enough fluids include:
- Lethargy or weakness
- Sunken and/or dry eyes
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Low urine output
- Lack of skin elasticity
Even a 2 percent drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and reading, and difficulty staying focused. In addition to replenishing what is lost in order to hydrate the blood and tissues, water also lubricates joints, regulates temperature, and moistens the lungs to allow for proper breathing. With homecare software or a homecare system in place, families can rest assured that their loved ones are being helped to stay well hydrated.
ClearCare Online’s homecare system and homecare software is designed to help seniors stay safe and healthy in the comfort of their own homes. For more tips on how to help seniors beat the heat this summer, check out our recent post on Keeping Seniors Cool.