Staying hydrated is the key to keeping our bodies healthy. The body requires fluids to regulate temperature, remove toxins, and deliver nutrients to the cells. Dehydration results in several health issues like indigestion, muscle cramps, low energy, etc.
Dehydration can be a common issue in every age group. However, dehydration in older adults is more frequent than it is in other age groups. It is because the ability to feel thirsty weakens as the human body ages. Therefore, the body fails to recognize that it is thirsty, which leads to dehydration and other possible serious health issues like UTI, kidney stones, seizures, hypovolemic shock etc.
Discover More: Seniors: Are you drinking enough water?
Furthermore, laxatives and diuretics are some of the most common medications prescribed for older adults to regulate high blood pressure and constipation. But these types of medications can drain fluids from the body as well. Due to this reason, doctors encourage patients taking these drugs to increase their fluid intake.
How to Recognize Dehydration in the Elderly
The common signs of dehydration are as follows:
- Dry mouth and dry, pale skin
- Decreased urination and dark colored urine
- Sunken eyes
- Muscle cramps
If dehydration is left untreated, new symptoms may appear. Signs and symptoms of severe dehydration include the following:
- Extreme fatigue
- Rapid heart rate
- Trouble walking
If an elderly person is showing these symptoms, seek medical attention. In severe cases, hospitalization may occur to treat symptoms. There are a few drinks you can give to your elderly parents to avoid dehydration. However, always make sure to consult a primary care physician or seek help from any senior care services to avoid any further health complications.
How Can Seniors Prevent Dehydration?
Drink Adequate Water
Consume an ample amount of water throughout the day to ensure adequate hydration. In addition, seniors should avoid beverages like soda and coffee, which can exacerbate dehydration.
Since seniors often lack the thirst sensation, consider setting reminders on phone or using a timer. Ensure that they drink a specific quantity of water each time the reminder activates.
Many fruits and vegetables have high water content, which can aid in hydration. If seniors find it challenging to increase their water intake, try incorporating more fruits and vegetables like cucumber, watermelon, etc., into their meals.
Consider Additional Beverages
If seniors find plain water monotonous, caregivers can provide additional options like fruit-infused water, coconut water, smoothies, fruit juices, etc.
Best Drinks to Prevent Dehydration in the Elderly
Dehydration in older adults can lead to additional health complications. People aged 65 years or older require approximately 64 ounces of water daily. Here, we have put together some nutritious drinks to help the elderly stay hydrated and restore electrolytes in the body. Let’s have a look!
Dehydration indicates that the body lacks electrolytes that help the kidneys function properly. For that reason, electrolyte-infused water is a much better option than regular water. Preparing electrolyte water for oral consumption takes only three ingredients- sugar, salt, and water. WHO recommends that 1 liter of this electrolyte solution should contain 8 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. To make the electrolyte more interesting, add ginger, lemon, etc. to it.
Besides, some ready-to-drink options such as Smart water and Trader Joe’s Alkaline Water Plus Electrolytes are also available to help deal with dehydration-related issues.
A superfood in nature, milk contains several nutrients like calcium, riboflavin, vitamin A, D, B12, potassium, magnesium, etc. These nutrients are essential for the human body to thrive. In addition to keeping seniors hydrated, it improves their overall health.
However, most older adults find milk difficult to digest. It is not recommended for people with lactose intolerance. There are several plant milk alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, oats milk, cashew milk, etc. which can be used to keep the elderly hydrated.
A favorite beverage among many older adults, green tea is also a healthy choice to keep them hydrated. But always use a green tea brand with lower levels of caffeine. Otherwise, high caffeine intake can cause sleeping disorders.
Moreover, it is rich in antioxidants and natural compounds as well. Thus, it not only hydrates but also boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, and prevents cell damage.
Fruit or Green Smoothies
A common reason behind dehydration in the elderly is the lack of interest in drinking regular water. That is why it is necessary to make the fluids interesting for them. Smoothies are delicious, satiating, and provide lots of nutrients. Use peanut butter, oatmeal, and fruits like apples, berries, bananas etc. to make a delicious glass of smoothie for them. Change the ingredients occasionally, to add different flavors and nutrients.
An effective way to prevent dehydration in older adults is to add some freshly squeezed juice to their diet. Juices made from fresh fruit and vegetables are extremely nutritious and beneficial for health. Fruits like watermelon, apples, oranges, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. are some of the healthiest choices.
While adding juice to their diet as a hydration option, keep their allergies, and prevailing health conditions in mind. Try to avoid store-bought juices which are full of chemical additives, colors, and sugar.
One of the best drinks for the elderly, Pedialyte is an advanced, medical-grade hydration formula. It contains electrolytes, namely potassium, sodium, and chloride to restore the electrolyte balance and prevent dehydration. It is suitable for both children and adults, especially as a hydration fluid to combat dehydration caused by diarrhea and stomach flu.
How Much Water Should Seniors Drink in a Day?
The first step toward averting dehydration is to recognize the signs and consult your primary care physician. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to severe dehydration and results in life-threatening medical emergency. It can cause serious damage to the kidneys, heart, and brain of the elderly. Consume fluids throughout the day and consult your doctor if you find it difficult to stay hydrated.
For any health concerns, consult EliteCare Health Centers, one of the best medical clinics and health and wellness service providers in Florida. We are a leading healthcare center that specializes in senior care services, including venipuncture, screenings, routine annual exams, etc. Visit our website for detailed information and give us a call at +1 888-596-2090 to schedule an appointment.
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