We all get thirsty, especially during a hot day or after exercise. Unfortunately, seniors often don’t get thirsty enough to stay hydrated. This is because the body’s signaling mechanisms for thirst do not work as well as we get older. The result is that many seniors can suffer from dehydration, especially during hot, humid weather.
Chronic dehydration is associated with an increased risk of falls, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, constipation, dental disease, impaired cognitive function and other problems. There’s no doubt that dehydration can cause serious medical issues for many people.
So what’s the solution? Some doctors recommend scheduled drinking to help alleviate dehydration. For instance, having a full glass of water (or juice) during a meal, while enjoying snacks, and after exercise is a good idea. So is having a full glass of water when taking medications. Your daily need for water will vary, what is most important is staying properly hydrated at all times. Everyone, especially caretakers, should be aware of the warning signs of dehydration:
- Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
- Dry mouth
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Dehydration is a health problem that needs to be taken seriously, particularly for the elderly. It’s a good idea to talk to your health care provider about the importance of hydration, especially if you have experienced any of the above symptoms.