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The Dangers of Dehydration

With summer fast approaching caregivers need to not only assure they are staying hydrated, but they must also make certain their aging parents are drinking enough water as well. There is the adage that everyone should drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but that may or may not be the case. The amount of water you drink could hinge on the activities you’re involved in or in how profusely you’re sweating.

The National Institute of Health recommends that individuals ingest between 90 and 125 Senior Dehydrationounces of liquid per day – this includes water and the liquid you get from foods. In general, most people can get the water they need by drinking, but they need to drink even on those times when they don’t feel thirsty. Waiting to be, and feel, thirsty shouldn’t be the indicator that you need to drink water. To prevent dehydration, you should take steps to drink water throughout the day. Remember too, as we age, the medications we take could lead to dehydration.

What are the signs of dehydration? Here are a few:

  1. Your tongue is dry
  2. When you pull on a piece of skin on the back of your hand and it doesn’t “spring” back quickly, you may be dehydrated.
  3. Your urine is dark.
  4. You’re weak or dizzy
  5. You are experiencing heart palpitations.
  6. You have low blood pressure
  7. Your eyes are dry

More drastic signs of dehydration include:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Confusion
  3. Drastic reduction in the urge to urinate
  4. Fainting
  5. A fever

How can you make certain you’re staying hydrated? Here are some tips:

  1. Add cucumber slices, lemon, lime, mint or other fresh fruits to the water to make it taste better.
  2. Use an app on your phone to help you track how much water you’re drinking and to remind you to take a sip or two.
  3. Refrain from drinking too much caffeine or alcohol as those beverages are drying.
  4. Carry a water bottle with you to remind yourself to drink.
  5. Eat foods that are more hydrating such as fruit, vegetables or smoothies. Avoid foods that dry you out like salty pretzels, potato chips or crackers.

When you’re talking with your aging loved ones, make certain you ask, “How much water are you drinking a day?” Have that be part of the conversation, especially as the temperatures heat up this summer.