Dehydration and the Risks for Seniors

Filling in glass of waterAs the mercury rises, it is important for your fluid intake to climb with it.  Making sure you drink eight glasses of water a day is important anytime of year. But it is especially crucial during a hot northern Kentucky summer.  Dehydration can happen quickly, and it can lead serious health complications.   

Here are a few quick tips to help northern Kentucky and greater Cincinnati caregivers stay safe and healthy this summer:

  1.   Drink at least eight glasses of water or other liquids per day. If you will be outdoors a lot, that number should increase to ten or twelve glasses. Avoid caffeinated beverages, diuretics and sugary drinks. These can actually CAUSE dehydration.  Just because it is a liquid doesn’t mean it is keeping your body hydrated.
  2.   Enjoy seasonal foods – many of the summer favorites have high percentages of water and are tasty ways of adding additional liquids into your routine.  Keep a watermelon cut up in your refrigerator. Carrots and berries are quick and easy snacks and are made of 90% water. Cool refreshing salads with cucumber can also help to replenish water lost during hot summer days.
  3.    Change it up!  Be sure you are drinking plenty of water. But when your taste buds are craving something different add a little variety. Try a fresh fruit and yogurt smoothie. Have a glass of juice or milk, a cup of decaffeinated coffee or tea.  Variety will help keep you on track with your suggested daily liquid intake.
  4.   Improve your access to liquids. If your bedroom is on a different level than your kitchen, be sure to have a glass or bottle of water on the night stand. Place a water pitcher by your favorite chair. Stock the fridge with water or consider placing a drinking water system in your home.  Make it convenient to stay hydrated.

Warning signs of dehydration 

Knowing the warning signs of dehydration can help prevent a serious heat-related illness or even heat stroke. Here are a few symptoms to be on the lookout for this summer:

            • Dry, sticky mouth
            • Fatigue
            • Decreased­­­ urine and lack of sweating
            • Muscle weakness
            • Headache
            • Rapid heartbeat
            • Fever
            • Low blood pressure
            • Possible delirium or unconsciousness
If you or a loved one you are a caregiver for exhibit any of the symptoms above, seek medical assistance immediately. Heat related illnesses can be successfully treated if they are caught in the earliest stages.

St. Charles Community is Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati’s most trusted senior care partner. A faith-based, nonprofit organization, we have served elders in our community for over 50 years.