While blue skies and sunny days are a welcome change from the cold and gray of winter, the summer heat can pose a number of health risks, especially for seniors. You’re probably used to slathering on sunscreen and donning a sunhat to prevent sunburn. But there’s something else you need to think about as the temperature in the thermometer rises: hydration.
Dehydration can lead to all manner of health problems, including things like low blood pressure and urinary tract infections. Its effects are scary, too. Dehydration can cause confusion and can impair cognition. It can also cause emergency hospitalization, and is a frequent cause of hospitalization for seniors.
Seniors are especially vulnerable to dehydration. In part, this is because our bodies’ water content decreases as we get older. Taking certain medications, hot weather, incontinence, generally feeling less thirst, and other underlying health issues can also cause dehydration. While these are all things to look out for in the summer, it’s important to get enough fluids all year round.
These things all make it much more important for seniors to pay attention to how much water they’re drinking! However, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you’re getting enough fluids. If you find yourself wanting to boost your water intake throughout the day, here are some things to try:
If you’re on a restricted diet, your doctor may not want you drinking beverages with lots of sugar or sodium. However, this doesn’t mean you have to drink plain old water. Things like lemon or cucumber slices can make boring water taste crisp and refreshing. Additives like Mio or single-serve Crystal Light packets can give you the flavor of lemonade or a fruit drink without the calories, sodium, and sugar of juices or soda.
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