In the summer months, older folks are more susceptible to heat stroke. Staying hydrated is one of the number one preventative measures a person can take to avoiding heat stroke. Hydration can also help to prevent confusion, impaired cognition, falls, and constipation. Also, there are several age and medical related reasons as to why the aging population is more susceptible to dehydration.
Less water is retained in the body as a person gets older. As a person ages their thirst cravings decrease and their ability to recognize their body temperature also begins to diminish. In addition, their kidneys also begin to decline in maintaining a proper fluid balance.
Medications are sometimes a cause for increased dehydration. Many health conditions also contribute to this problem such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and urinary tract infections; these conditions require more hydration due to the body’s spike in fever and overproduction of mucus. Diseases such as congestive heart failure, renal disease, stroke and diabetes affect the function of hormones that regulate fluids in the body. Other medical problems include swallowing difficulties, decreased mobility, incontinence, and prolonged vomiting or diarrhea.
Diseases in which you may not need to push as many fluids include cirrhosis of the liver and kidney disease.
4 Hydration Ideas
- First thing in the morning fill a two-quart pitcher of water or fruit juices made with water. By the end of the day they should have drunk must of the pitcher. This will at least help you monitor the amount of fluids they are receiving.
- Provide water glasses in all areas of the house where the senior may be spending time.
- Prepare foods with sauces, juices and gravies and serve fruits and vegetables as they all have water content for hydration. Ice cream or ice pops are also a nice treat.
- Provide favorite beverages and make sure they’re not caffeinated or alcoholic. (A mocktail recipe is provided below!)
Strawberry & Coconut Mocktail Recipe
To make 2 Strawberry Mocktails combine:
- 1 cup of fresh coconut water
- 1 cup strawberries hulled and sliced
- 3 T agave nectar
- Measure 1 cup of coconut water, either directly from a cut-open coconut or from a store-bought container.
- Combine the strawberries and agave nectar and blend with a blender to desired consistency.
- Serve with ice.