It’s summertime, and the living is easy. That is, except in warm climates where dehydration is a real concern. As we age, declining kidney function and our inability to recognize thirst both contribute to increased risk of dehydration. Not only that, but those who have a difficult time getting around are a lot less likely to get up for a glass of water, even if they do feel thirsty. Without someone to provide in-home care for seniors and to watch them for the symptoms of dehydration, the most vulnerable members of your family might be at risk.
In the elderly, signs to watch for include loss of skin elasticity, dry mouth, lack of tears, and low urine output. As the condition worsens, you might notice your relative is confused, or appears weaker than normal. With scary symptoms like those, it’s no wonder dehydration is one of the top ten causes for hospitalization among Medicare patients.
Getting enough to drink is only part of the solution. It’s important to get adequate amounts of electrolytes as well. Fruits and fruit juices are good sources of electrolytes, as are sports drinks. The best defense, though, is to provide in-home care for seniors who might be at risk. Having someone on hand who knows what to watch for will not only help reduce the risk of a potential life-threatening illness, but it will ease your worry and make summertime more enjoyable for everyone.
Originally posted 2010-07-13 01:00:09.