Many of us look forward to the summer months. After the long winter, we all look forward to spending more time with our families outdoors. This is really a great time of year, but as temperatures rise, the risk of dehydration rises with it for all of us, but especially among the elderly.
As we age, our bodies aren’t able to conserve water as well as those who are younger. This makes it difficult to adapt to fluctuating temperatures. Compounding the risk of dehydration is that our sense of thirst diminishes with age. This means that by the time an elderly person actually feels thirsty, their essential fluids may already be extremely low.
Another risk factor for dehydration is that certain medications and medical conditions can affect a senior’s ability to retain fluids. Diuretics, antihistamines, laxatives, antipsychotics and corticosteroids can cause frequent urination that depletes water and electrolytes. Individuals with memory impairment may forget to eat and drink, and some may even have difficulty swallowing. Some seniors who know they are incontinent may deliberately refuse or limit fluid intake to avoid accidents.
If you are a caregiver for an elderly person, look for the following symptoms of dehydration:
How to prevent dehydration:
For most of us, drinking plenty of fluids and eating foods with high water content is a great way to keep our bodies properly hydrated in warmer weather. Most adults need about 64 ounces of fluid every day, but that amount increases with heat and humidity and can change based on various medications and health conditions.
A good rule of thumb is to try balancing fluid intake with output. If a senior is sweating or urinating more frequently, then their fluid intake should become more frequent as well. If a loved one is suffering from an illness that causes fever, diarrhea or vomiting, carefully monitoring fluid intake is crucial.
We encourage you to spend time with your elderly loved ones this season, just remember: Hydration is key to a safe, enjoyable summer!
If you’ve recently had an elderly loved one sent to an in-patient rehabilitation facility, you may be wondering what their time there will entail. We’ve outlined a typical day in Geriatric Rehabilitation below:
Nurses make their rounds. They check in on residents to see to their needs. They will direct staff to help where necessary with daily personal grooming. Medication schedules are maintained to ensure that daily dosages are met properly at the prescribed times. Residents also receive their breakfast.
After breakfast, it’s time for various physical therapies depending on the person’s needs and abilities. Patients work on strength, balance and coordination and perform exercises that help minimize pain. The goal of these and all therapies is to return your loved one to health so that they are able to go home.
After lunch is served, your loved one’s day can vary. If further therapies are required, this is when they would take place. Some of these therapies may include Occupational Therapy to help with daily skills. They may need to meet with a Speech/Language Pathologist to work on speech or swallowing skills. If necessary, counseling is also scheduled in this time frame.
Once therapies are completed, socialization is promoted. Various activities happen throughout the afternoon so that residents can meet in a fun setting. Keeping your loved ones active and engaged helps promote healing and a sense of wellbeing.
After dinner is served, more activities are available for your loved ones to participate in freely. This is also a great time for family to visit. Residents love this time of day to spend time with the people they love.
Staff is always available to help with daily care tasks and ambulation. They do everything they can to provide personalized care for your loved one. The goal of the entire stay is to help residents return their strength and coordination so that they can safely reintegrate into their h