Summer - Keeping hydrated and staying cool


Summer is just about here, and these warmer months unfortunately bring the increased risk of dehydration, especially for older adults. Dehydration happens when someone loses more fluids than they take in and there is not enough water in the body. Older adults are at greater risk of dehydration and its complications such as confusion, delirium, low blood pressure and dizziness, which can increase the risk of falls. Dehydration can also cause constipation and increases the risk of urinary tract infections, it could also cause kidney injury or failure. Making sure that older adults stay hydrated and keep cool is critical, especially during these summer months, here are some tips to help prevent dehydration.

As well as encouraging regular fluids ensure your loved ones home is kept cool, open windows for airflow, use fans if they have them, draw curtains to keep afternoon sun out of certain areas of the home that get too warm. Upstairs areas can get particularly hot, especially if not used regularly, if possible open upstairs windows to allow airflow.

It is also important to ensure older adults are wearing appropriate clothing for the weather, in particular those with Dementia may not recognise the heat and dress in a number of layers or inappropriate clothing. Wearing loose clothing that is made from light, breathable fabric and that is white or light-coloured is recommended.

Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration which include:

It is important to remember that the presence or absence of these physical signs are not always reliable ways to detect dehydration. Furthermore, the physical symptoms above can easily be caused by health problems other than dehydration so it is important to see a GP if you have any concerns.

*Health central. 2019. Hydration – Why is it so important for Older People?

*Eldernet Gazette. 2018. Watching for Dehydration in the Vulnerable Elderly

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