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Three Ways to Prevent Dehydration

Jul 6, 2016 by Luke Ries

The Effects of Dehydration

We all know that hydration is essential to supporting an active, healthy, lifestyle, but with summer now in full swing, its importance can’t be overstated. It has been reported that a majority of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

For many, this is due primarily to normal or recommended water intake being counteracted by consumption of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages and increased sodium intake. What isn’t commonly known is that the results of dehydration can be devastating, and can include:
 

  • Kidney stones
     
  • Urinary tract infections
     
  • Compromised immune system
     
  • Excessive weight loss
     
  • Impaired cognitive functions
     

Changes in diet and lifestyle can help prevent dehydration for many – but for older adults, things are a little bit trickier.

First and foremost, as we get older, the amount of water in our bodies naturally decreases (approximately 12% for men, and 6% for women), and consequently there is less water to lose. Seniors who take diuretic medications, have limited mobility, or are faced with chronic conditions – such as diabetes – are also at greater risk for dehydration, as well. Needless to say, there are several other factors that come into play once we age that make monitoring dehydration more difficult.

While seniors don’t always show obvious signs of dehydration – such as increased thirst, constipation, and fatigue – it can be difficult to know whether or not their water intake is what it should be. Follow the tips below to proactively ensure that your loved ones are getting the water they need.

Three Ways to Prevent Dehydration

  • Add Some Flavor – Colorless and generally tasteless, water can sometimes be a little bland. When you consider that five 8-ounce glasses is the recommended amount for seniors, it’s no wonder why they may be reaching for other sugary beverages to even things out.

    As an alternative, prepare a large pitcher of ice water with a variety of sliced fruit to provide some flavor. For those that miss the carbonation of soft drinks, have some sparkling water at the ready that they can mix into their regular or fruit-infused water!

 

  • Spread It Out – Again, those 8-ounce glasses can be daunting. Encourage seniors to drink smaller amounts more frequently throughout the day, rather than large volumes all at once. Instead of having the water in tall glasses (which can be difficult to grip, and have a tendency to slip from one’s hands), have them put it in fun, colorful plastic water bottles.

    They can take these with them if they need to go somewhere else in the house, and the bright vibrant color will be more likely to draw their attention, reminding them to stay hydrated.

 

  • Drink Your Fruits and Veggies – While the emphasis has been primarily around drinking water, hydration can come from various fruits and vegetables with high water content, including:
    • Watermelon
    • Strawberries
    • Tomatoes
    • Cucumbers
    • Celery
    • Green Peppers
       

With these tips in mind, you can help reduce the risk of dehydration for your senior loved ones. That being said, we understand that you can’t always be around to put these recommendations into practice or see that they’re making choices conducive to healthy living.

Comfort Keepers® of Sheboygan and Fond du Lac can help. Our compassionate, professional in home caregivers can provide everything from light housekeeping to mobility assistance – in addition to monitoring the nourishment and hydration of your loved ones.

Contact us or give us a call at (920) 204-6886 to discover the many ways in which we can provide loving assistance and quality home care.

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