The weather here in Portland seems to get hotter every year, evidenced by record breaking temperatures becoming a common occurrence. For senior citizens, this kind of heat can be downright dangerous. Whether you're a senior citizen yourself or you care for an aging loved one, let us give you some tips that we use at Greenridge Estates Assisted Living to encourage our residents to stay safe, healthy, and hydrated.
What To Keep An Eye Out For
As many as 75% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration, according to Medical Daily. The first thing to do is understand what symptoms may signal that you or your loved one is experiencing dehydration. While none of these symptoms alone are a surefire indicator of dehydration, pay special attention to the severity and the number of symptoms experienced. Keep in mind that experiencing a symptom you have no history of is generally a stronger indicator that your body is trying to tell you something new!
Dry skin or cracked lips
Lack of sweat, despite high heat
Increased heart rate
Low blood pressure
4 Ways To Help With Hydration Throughout The Day
Whether you see signs of dehydration or not, it is important to make sure you and your loved one has easy and regular access to fluids throughout the day. Sometimes it can be a challenge to get enough fluids, especially if you're not already accustomed to drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. However, there are endless creative ways to support hydration that we all forget about!
Favorite drinks are an easy sell! We have our favorite foods and drinks that we can enjoy day in and day out, and that's especially true for Senior Citizens. Therefore, one of the best ways to encourage good hydration is to give your loved ones fluids that they enjoy, such as flavored waters or juices. Coffee and tea are also good options, however, these won't support hydration quite as well as other fluids—be sure to keep them on the weaker side. (Caffeine is not necessarily dehydrating itself, but it can act as a mild diuretic; if the coffee is sending your loved one to the restroom frequently, it may be doing more harm than good.)
Fruits and vegetables are a snack and drink in one! Fruits and vegetables are not only a great way to sneak in some water, but also potassium and other minerals that a dehydrated body desperately needs. Cucumbers, grapefruit, strawberries, celery, and pineapple are all fruits and vegetables that have high water content. They're also easy to prepare and keep on hand as a ready-to-eat snack throughout the day.
Accessibility is key! You may not know this, but as we age our ability to sense our own thirst diminishes, even if we are severely dehydrated. This sense doesn't disappear completely, but rather it can come and go. Having opportunities to drink fluids at convenient locations can help remind us to stay hydrated even if we don't feel thirsty in the moment. Try placing a water bottle next to the bed, a favorite chair, or in the entryway. Do you have a favorite cup, bottle, tumbler, or straw? Stock up on your favorite drinking containers and have them accessible throughout the house!
Timers and reminders can be useful! Keeping to a schedule can be a huge help in staying hydrated. Making hydration a habit not only for your loved one but for yourself too is a highly-successful method for avoiding dehydration—especially if your loved one experiences any form of memory loss. Having a hard time tracking hydration? Sometimes keeping a journal of how much liquid each of you has consumed can be a huge help. No matter your age, it's easy to lose track of how many glasses of water you drank today.
Keeping hydrated can be a challenge for all ages, but it's especially important for Senior Citizens to be mindful of the various health implications of dehydration. Often times we don't know we're dehydrated until we experience the more severe symptoms. At Greenridge Estates Assisted Living we are always thinking of ways to help our residents stay healthy and active each day. We hope that these tips can help you and your loved ones stay happy, healthy, and hydrated this summer!
To contact us or learn more about Greenridge Estates Assisted Living, please visit our homepage here.