Parades, picnics, gardening, and festivals are all fun outdoor activities that seniors enjoy. But spending too much time in the heat can also be detrimental to an older adult’s health and wellbeing. In addition to sunburn and overexertion, dehydration is a common warm-weather concern for the elderly. As an informal caregiver, following these safety tips will help ensure safe, comfortable, and hydrated seniors even on the hottest days.
Dehydration Symptoms in the Elderly
Dehydration symptoms can be subtle and are often masked by other signs of aging. Here are some telltale signs that your senior isn’t getting enough fluids:
- Dry mouth or dry tongue with thick saliva
- Cramping in their limbs
- Low urine output
- Dry skin
- Body weakness
- Crying, but no tears
- Rapid, weak heart rate
- Sunken eyes
- Low blood pressure
- Inability to sweat
- Bloated stomach
- Kidney failure
Note: Ignoring or failing to identify these warning signs could result in your loved one being placed in a life-threatening situation. If pushing fluids does not help, take them to the nearest Emergency Department immediately.
Hydration Tips for Older Adults
You can help prevent elder dehydration by taking these steps:
Boost fluid intake
Encourage your senior to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and be sure they are readily available. Get them a refillable water bottle and place it next to their bed or favorite TV viewing spot. If they don’t like the taste of plain water, liven it up with a lemon or lime wedge. Cucumbers, mint, or coconut also work well for thirsty seniors with finicky tastebuds.
If your elderly loved ones are tired of water, try serving them fresh fruits or healthy broths instead. Also, ask them to avoid sugary drinks, alcohol, beverages that contain caffeine, and soda – all of which can worsen dehydration.
Wear breathable clothes
Clothing materials such as cotton and linen allow the body to sweat and breathe naturally. Be sure not to dress your senior in jeans, clothing made from rayon, or polyester-based fabrics.
Take frequent breaks
While doing activities outdoors, encourage your senior to take rest breaks every hour or so to keep their energy level from getting depleted. When their residence lacks adequate ventilation or AC, indoor activities can be dangerous for the elderly on hot, humid days.
Get the HVAC system checked
If your loved one’s home still feels warm on days when the AC runs constantly, hire an HVAC repairman to come and check it out. Strategically placing small fans around the home will also help circulate cooler air even on the warmest summer days.
Monitor their medications
Certain prescription and OTC medications can cause an older adult to become dehydrated faster than normal. To prevent that from happening, research the meds that your loved one is taking so you can increase their fluid intake, as needed.
Don’t ignore the signs
If your loved one is showing early signs of dehydration, immediately offer them a bottle of water or energy drink so they can replenish their electrolytes quickly and resume normal activities.
Find Them a Companion
Keeping aging loved ones hydrated isn’t always easy when you’re busy or live far away. On the other hand, hiring a “personal assistant” from a trustworthy home care provider is a reliable way to keep any senior hydrated, healthy, and comfortable all year long.
While following a customized care plan tailored to your loved one’s needs, a professional caregiver can ensure that they are:
- Consuming enough fluids every day
- Eating nutritious, healthy meals
- Properly managing their medications, including any interactions that could cause or worsen dehydration
Your Trustworthy Home Care Partner in Indianapolis, IN
Senior1Care is your trusted partner in providing quality, compassionate home care services to seniors living in Fishers, Brownsburg, Avon, Carmel, and the greater Indianapolis area. Our experienced caregivers are trained to deliver professional, reliable care in the same respectful and friendly manner that they would treat their own family members.
At Senior1Care, we understand that having a caregiver in your loved one’s home is a decision that requires trust. Our goal is to build relationships with clients by listening to their needs and providing the highest level of quality care possible. We are committed to helping your loved ones maintain their well-being, independence, and comfort. To learn more about our flexible caregiving options or schedule a FREE assessment for a senior in the greater Indianapolis, IN, area, visit us by clicking here now.