The Dog Days of Summer
Many people think this old adage speaks to the summer heat being so significant. However, the National Geographic states that it makes references to an ancient Greek belief of the 'dog star', Sirius and its position in the sky.
Others think the Dog Days of summer speaks to some of the Central Valley's hottest temperatures. For those of you lucky enough to reside in cool summer temperatures, those of us in Fresno County experienced temperatures as high as 111 before the month of August even began! It's been a very warm couple of weeks! These high temperatures can make people especially prone to dehydration, but the senior citizen population is at a significant risk not only for dehydration, but complications from dehydration.
Temperatures this High Can Easily Lead to Dehydration
There are many causes of senior dehydration which we as CAREgivers need to be aware of. As one ages the body's ability to conserve water decreases, the body is not as thirsty (so fluids are not replacing as quickly), and the body doesn't not respond to temperature changes as well (Mayoclinic.org). Additionally, those seniors who have dementia, take specific medication or have another serious illness or condition may not eat or drink as much as their healthy counterparts.
Causes of Dehydration
Diarrhea and/or vomiting-
This loss of water and electrolytes should be a significant concern.
Fever also decreases the body's fluids, and the higher the fever, the more dehydrated one can become.
When sweating we loose more fluids.
This can be due to frequent urination or certain medications (such as diuretics).
Warning Signs of Dehydration
Medical news today states that signs of moderate dehydration are as follows:
*Few or no tears when crying
*Weakness in muscles
Severe dehydration can be marked by the following symptoms:
*Lack of sweating
*Shriveled and dry skin
*Low blood pressure
*Increase heart rate
So what can one do to ward of dehydration in their elderly family member or client and help them drink more fluids? The Hydration for Health initiative suggests the following tips for encouraging water consumption (h4hinitiative.com).
1. Offer fluids regularly throughout the day.
2. Liquids should be readily available near them (if they can see the water glass, they may choose to drink more frequently).
3. When medications are being taken, encourage fluids.
4. Provide beverages that your family member enjoys.
5. Encourage a minimum intake of 1.5 liters (roughly 6 cups) especially in situations where dehydration is more likely.
If you have any questions on how to decrease your loved ones risk of dehydration, encourage fluid consumption, or need any help or guidance in regards to elder care, please reach out to us at 559.243.1224.
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