Ways to Beat the Heat
Drinking enough water and staying hydrated is crucial for everyone, but particularly for seniors who are at higher risk of dehydration. Those with Alzheimer’s or dementia can easily forget to stay hydrated, leading to bigger health issues. Not drinking enough water has also been linked with an increase in mortality rates for the elderly. With summer fast approaching, we’ve come up with some practical and healthy ways for you to stay cool and hydrated during the dangerous Texas heat.
1. Drink Enough Water
As obvious as it sounds, you should keep fluids handy and be sure to drink plenty of cool water throughout your day. Limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine, which are major dehydrators. To counteract the dehydrating effects, you should drink water in between drinks. If you’ve noticed that your loved is tired of drinking only one thing, you can try infusing water with a variety of fruit and herbs (lime, lemons, orange or mint).
2. Eat Fresh Fruit
Staying hydrated doesn’t mean just drinking enough water. You can also stay hydrated by eating cold snacks that are high in water such as popsicles, fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products. In addition to their hydrating effects, you will receive a host of vitamins and nutrients!
3. Retreat from the heat
Make your home significantly cooler by keeping the shades closed during the hotter times of the day. According to the Department of Energy, curtains, blinds and other window management coverings can reduce heat transfer by up to 77 percent. It’s also best to keep fans circulating and your air conditioning at a cool temperature so you can retreat from the blistering heat.
4. Take a cool shower
Take a refreshing, cold bath or shower to help lower your core body temperature. You can also put a cool wash cloth or towel on your neck and face to keep from overheating.
Dehydration Signs and Symptoms
Whether it’s due to forgetfulness or dementia, many older adults don’t know they need to drink more water until early signs of dehydration begin. Experts generally agree that seniors should consume at least 1.7 liters of water every 24 hours. Monitor your loved one and look for these common signs and symptoms of dehydration. These include:
- Extreme thirst
- Dry mouth
- Dry skin
- Sunken eyes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Muscle cramps
- Dark colored urine
Depending on the individual, these physical symptoms may not always present themselves. If you suspect that your loved one is severely dehydrated, get out of the heat, have them sip water and call 9-1-1 immediately.
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