Sip A Little Throughout the Day to Stay Ahead of Dehydration
Older adults are especially susceptible due to changes in the body’s ability to conserve water, sense thirst and respond to temperature shifts. Medications, especially diuretics, can also play a role.
People with cognitive difficulties, including dementia and Alzheimer’s, might just forget to eat or drink altogether.
To stay ahead of dehydration, try:
- Finding non-alcoholic, caffeine-free beverages you or your loved ones enjoy;
- Infusing hot or cold water with favorite fruits (sliced lemon, orange, berries);
- Experiment with fruit and herb-infused water (lemon and basil, lemon and cucumber, mint and strawberry, for starters);
- Drinking beverages at your preferred temperature–ice cold drinks make some people cough;
- Snacking on high water-content fruits and vegetables like watermelon, oranges, celery, carrots;
- Sipping your favorite beverage throughout the day, but not too close to bedtime.
Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, very dark/concentrated urine, sunken eyes, lethargy, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate and dry skin. If you see these in yourself or a loved one, provide small, frequent amounts of fluids. If symptoms don’t improve, call your doctor or go to the hospital, since severe dehydration can result in serious complications.
Check in on loved ones and neighbors who live alone, especially if they don’t have air conditioning. Cool off at a pool or lake, mist yourself/your loved one with water, or look for cooling centers in your community if the heat gets to be too much.