In this St. Barnabas blog, we cover the topic of dehydration prevention, which is especially important for your elderly loved one. Read on to learn more.

A few weeks ago, we discussed the signs and symptoms of dehydration and the greater risk of this illness in the elderly.

Today we are focusing on how to prevent dehydration—especially important now that the temperatures across the United States continue to rise.

Dehydration in the senior community is a common health issue that can potentially lead to larger problems if proper hydration is not a top priority.

According to the University of Chicago Medical Center, around 40 percent of heat-related fatalities in the United States were among people over the age of 65.

It’s for this reason that dehydration prevention is particularly important for the elderly. Here are some helpful tips to make sure that your elderly loved one is properly hydrated.

  1. Recognize the early warning signs of dehydration which include dark urine, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, headaches and thirst.
  2. Encourage your loved one to voluntarily drink more fluids. Keep their favorite beverages close by and always have milk, juice or water readily available during each meal.
  3. Avoid or limit the consumption of caffeine, which acts like a diuretic. Drinks such as caffeinated soft drinks, coffee and tea can increase the likelihood of the body releasing more liquid. Replace these beverages with decaffeinated versions or intermix alternatives such as water or low-sugar juices.
  4. Add variety in your loved one’s diet to prevent dehydration. Though staying hydrated is commonly linked to drinking water, there are other ways to reach your daily fluid intake. One way of doing so is eating water-based foods. Here’s a short list of some of the most common fruits and vegetables that are rich in H2O:
    • Cucumbers: 96.7 percent water. Cucumbers have the highest water content of any solid food.
    • Watermelon: 91.5 percent water. It’s no shock, but watermelon is full of water and lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant.
    • Spinach: 91.4 percent water. Though iceberg lettuce contains more water, spinach contains 15 percent of the suggested vitamin E intake. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that helps fight off free radicals.
  5. Finally, the most common suggestion for dehydration prevention is drinking five eight-ounce glasses of water a day. This is a good starting point for the elderly; however, it’s important to note that every person’s needs are different.

If you would like to learn more about dehydration prevention, contact your loved one’s primary care physician.


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