The summer heat can make it challenging for anyone to stay hydrated. For seniors, the risk of dehydration is higher. If you have an elderly parent at home, here is what you need to know about helping him or her avoid dehydration:
Why Is There a Higher Risk?
There are several reasons that seniors are at a higher risk of dehydration, including the medications they take. Some medications, such as diuretics that are routinely prescribed for high blood pressure, can increase urination. If your parent is not getting enough water, the combination of increased urination and a lack of hydration can often turn to dehydration in a short period.
Another potential cause is a decreased thirst. As people age, their sense of thirst is far less acute. As a result, some seniors do not realize that they need hydration until the signs of dehydration start to show.
Seniors who have chronic illnesses or have experienced vomiting or diarrhea are also at an increased risk of dehydration. Unfortunately, some kidney function is lost as people age and they can experience trouble with conserving fluids. Illness can cause an even greater problem with retaining fluids.
What Can You Do?
One of the most important steps you can take is to monitor your parent's fluid intake. If you are unable to provide day-to-day monitoring, consider contracting with an in-home care service. A trained professional will assist your parent with numerous tasks and can ensure your parent is getting the fluids that he or she needs throughout the day.
The symptoms of dehydration, such as confusion and constipation, can appear without warning and if your parent is not closely monitored, he or she could suffer serious complications. An in-home professional will be there to monitor your parent's health daily and will report any changes that are observed.
In addition to ensuring your parent is being closely monitored, you can also make some changes to his or her diet. Including more fruits and vegetables that have high water content, such as cucumbers and grapes, can help with staving off dehydration. Ask the in-home professional to provide some ideas for foods that your parent can add to their diet to increase fluid intake.
Dehydration can sneak up on your parent. By working with an in-home professional and helping your parent increase his or her fluid intake, you can make sure he or she stays healthy and avoids the complications that can come with dehydration. Contact local elder care services for more information and assistance.