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Drink Up This Summer: Dehydration is a Commonly Overlooked Health Risk for Seniors

Drink Up This Summer: Dehydration is a Commonly Overlooked Health Risk for Seniors

Proper hydration is essential for everyone at every age. Awareness of the need for water has increased over the last five years and has caused a surge in the sales of reusable water containers — an industry expected to reach $10.19 billion by 2024. 

These days, you see people in the gym, the grocery store, the mall, and on the street toting around jugs of water. But seniors seem to have missed the memo, and that’s a potential problem. 

Led by Hector Fabregas, MD, the team at Healthstone Primary, with three convenient locations in Weston, Pembroke Pines, and Davie, Florida, specializing in senior care. They know their unique challenges and the chronic conditions that may require special attention. 

In addition to the more severe conditions seniors may encounter, dehydration is one of the lesser-known culprits for medical issues. Here are some things the Healthstone team wants their senior patients to know about water intake.

How is hydration different for seniors?

As we age, all of our body parts and systems tend to slow down and lose some functionality. Several issues may affect proper hydration in older adults.

Decreased thirst signals

Put simply, seniors don’t realize they’re thirsty even when their bodies are dehydrated. Aging changes certain physiological control systems connected with the sensations of thirst and satiety, so by the time they feel thirsty, they are likely already dehydrated.

Incontinence makes them hesitate.

Incontinence can be embarrassing and a hassle to deal with. Knowing that drinking more water only exacerbates the problem may make some seniors hesitant to guzzle down a full glass of water.

Forgetfulness

Whether it’s Alzheimer’s, dementia, or simple memory loss, some seniors just don’t remember to grab a glass of water with their meal or after doing chores or taking a walk. 

Difficulty swallowing

Younger people take simple bodily functions for granted, like walking, speaking, and eating. Often, these daily activities become difficult for older people. When swallowing becomes a challenge, drinking water becomes less of a priority.

Medications

Certain medications can cause dehydration in adults, especially diuretics, which are common in cases of heart failure and high blood pressure. 

Illness

Any illness, disease, or medical condition that includes fever, infection, diarrhea, or vomiting puts seniors at a higher risk for dehydration. 

How to recognize the signs of dehydration in seniors

Since the natural sensation that triggers thirst may be diminished, you or your loved one may not know dehydration is looming or already present. Here are some common signs of dehydration: 

How dangerous is dehydration in seniors?

In most cases, the symptoms mentioned above are the only ones you’ll need to contend with. But left untreated, you could face more severe consequences, such as:

How to help seniors stay hydrated

It’s recommended that older adults should drink about 1.7 liters (a little over 7 cups) of water every 24 hours. If you have a loved one who may not be drinking enough water, here are a few tips to help you keep things flowing: 

If you’re a senior or have a loved one who is a senior, consider scheduling an appointment with 

Healthstone Primary. The team can set your mind at ease with a routine senior exam or run diagnostic tests if you feel something’s wrong. Contact us here to schedule an appointment today.



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