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Summer is a wonderful time of year and with the pool parties, bbq’s, and family gatherings, rarely do health concerns enter our mind. The onset of summer also means the onset of heat, and dehydration is a very common problem in aging adults. Most people do not think of dehydration as being a very common problem, but as adults age, there are a host of factors that contribute to the risk of dehydration, and an entirely different set of potential problems that occur as the result of it. Here are some tips for making sure your loved ones, or the ones you care give for, are drinking enough water this summer.

Easy Access. Make sure that water is always easily accessible for the aging adult. This is especially important if the adult is unable to walk or move on their own.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “As you age, your body’s fluid reserve becomes smaller, your ability to conserve water is reduced and your thirst sense becomes less acute. These problems are compounded by chronic illnesses such as diabetes and dementia, and by the use of certain medications. Older adults also may have mobility problems that limit their ability to obtain water for themselves.”

Reminders. It is very important to remind an aging adult to drink water throughout the day, especially if they have a cognitive impairment, such as dementia or Alzheimers. The Mayo Clinic Staff reminds us that, “Many people, particularly older adults, don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated. That’s why it’s important to increase water intake during hot weather or when you’re ill.” You may even form a gentle question, “Have you had any water today?” instead of making demands or ordering them to drink a glass.

Symptoms and Complications. Being aware of the potential fall out from dehydration can be a good motivation to make sure we are encouraging those we love to drink enough water. Seizures, urinary tract infections, kidney stones and failure,  and heatstroke are just a few of the complications that dehydration can cause. Aging adults are more susceptible to these problems due to their age and other health problems they may have. Some symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, dizziness, confusion, less frequent urination, dark colored urine, and extreme thirst. 

Help the aging adult in your life enjoy the summer by making sure water is easily accessible, gently reminding them to drink throughout the day, and being aware of the symptoms and complications of dehydration.

This information is not meant to take the place of a doctor’s advice. If you have any questions regarding your health, always seek out a medical professional.