For many seniors, particularly those who have to spend a lot of time indoors during the winter, the summer can be a great time of year to experience the outdoors and nature. At the same time, however, time in the summer sun presents a few minor risks to those who are older and may have compromised immune systems or other health conditions – and one such risk is dehydration.
At Avamere at Mountain Ridge, our assisted living services include professional staff who are well-trained on senior hydration and ensuring dehydration risks are not present during the hot Utah summer. For any senior caregiver, taking a few extra steps to help your loved one stay hydrated through the summer is very important – here are a few areas to consider.
Generally speaking, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommend between 48 and 64 ounces of fluid each day, primarily water. This range should be increased for those spending more time outdoors or performing physical activity, or for those who may become dehydrated faster, including seniors in some cases.
Fluid can refer to both water or other forms, such as fruit and vegetable juices, soups and even milk. Sodas and coffees may technically be liquids, but they shouldn’t play a big role in anyone’s daily liquid consumption total.
Some general tips to help seniors stay hydrated during the dry summer:
- With each meal or snack, also include a glass or two of water or some other positive liquid.
- Add lemon, lime, berries, mint or other natural additives to water to make it taste better and be more appealing throughout the day.
- When providing seniors with medication, bring an entire glass of water rather than just a few sips, and ensure it’s all consumed.
- Invest in reusable bottles or thermoses that can be used throughout the day, plus taken with you on any walks or outdoor activities.
- Incorporate fruits and vegetables with high water content into senior diet – berries, melon, cucumber, celery, oranges and others all suffice.
- Ensure water is consumed in larger amounts before, during and after exercise.
- If a senior appears fatigued or otherwise compromised during exercise or outdoor activity, halt the activity, locate shade and provide water.
- Wear a hat and other garments to keep body temperature low.
Dehydration Red Flags
Finally, caregivers should keep a close eye on any possible warning signs of dehydration taking place in seniors, both during outdoor activities and in general. Here are some basic red flags you might pick up on:
- Dry mouth or chapped lips
- Fatigue or tiredness at unusual times
- Weakness in muscles
For more on preventing dehydration in seniors during the dry Utah summer, or to learn about any of our senior living programs or memory care services, speak to the staff at Avamere at Mountain Ridge today.