Summer is coming with it’s accompanying hot weather and humidity. Seniors have a tendency to dehydrate and overheat more easily than younger people.
Dehydration can be a serious problem with Seniors. As we age, we lose the recovery power of our youth so that when we get truly dehydrated, it may take longer to rebound from dehydration. The more we age, the longer it takes to recover. Of course, the better physical condition we are in, the better we are able to handle the recovery.
What are the symptoms of dehydration? Mild to moderate dehydration results in increased thirst, headache, lightheadedness, constipation, dry mouth, fatigue, and lack of the need to urinate. Severe dehydration may result in severe thirst, lack of sweating, confusion, irritability, fever, low blood pressure, rapid breathing and heart rate, and may end up in loss of consciousness. Severe dehydration can also result in kidney problems and overall decreased blood flow resulting from low fluid content in the body.
With seniors, the symptoms of dehydration do not appear suddenly. But once you become dehydrated, the symptoms can escalate quickly. Studies tell us that Seniors also lose their sense of thirst as they get older, so they are not as likely to notice the need for fluids as early as younger people.
How about increasing salt intake? Here is an interesting bit of information. Studies have shown that lack of salt contributes to cardiovasuclar problems. What? I always heard that salt is bad for you. These studies show that seniors should consume no less than one teaspoon of salt, nor more than three teaspoons of salt per day. Those who did the studying that most seniors were well within this range when they were totally on their own. But interestingly, most independent living facilities provide a low salt diet at dinnertime, which can potentially lead to mild dehydration. What kind of salt should we use? Sea salt or rock salt is better by far that normal table salt.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, the best way to prevent dehydration in seniors, and everyone else for that matter, is to drink plenty of water, eat plenty of water content foods like fruits and vegetables, and to avoid alcohol.
We are also told that seniors should be careful about venturing out on really hot and humid days and to keep plenty of water handy at all times. Don’t skimp on salt, but don’t go overboard either.
Most medical websites say basically the same thing relative to seniors. Drink plenty of water whether you are thirsty or not (remember the sense of thirst is diminished with seniors). Be alert for symptoms and catch them early. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if the symptoms are noticeable, and don’t hesitate to contact emergency or medical personnel if you or anyone with you deems it advisable.
I hope you found this useful. Thank your for reading.