Doesn't that look cool and refreshing for a hot summer day! Summer time is full of fun moments like this. Unfortunately problems can also lurk in the sweet heat. Dehydration in the elderly was a topic on Twitter recently when I tweeted an article by in-law suite.com, Elderly Dehydration: Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention. With summer heat already upon many of us, it seemed like the perfect topic for a Twitter Tuesday to help all of us in the Sandwich Generation dealing with the many issues of caring for elderly parents. Particularly since it's not just an area of concern for our aging parents. It's important for us to watch for signs of dehydration in young grand children as well.
"Dehydration means your body does not have as much water and fluids as it should. Dehydration can be caused by losing too much fluid, not drinking enough water or fluids, or both. Vomiting and diarrhea are common causes.
Infants and children are more susceptible to dehydration than adults because of their smaller body weights and higher turnover of water and electrolytes. The elderly and those with illnesses are also at higher risk.
Dehydration is classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on how much of the body's fluid is lost or not replenished. When severe, dehydration is a life-threatening emergency."
Having nursed my share of kids, grandkids, and senior parents, I definitely know to watch for it during a bout with a tummy bug or a severe sore throat. It's vital for us to keep tabs on them for this during the hot summer months as well.
According to the CDC, "Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink water; the human body needs fluids on a regular basis. An adult should drink about two liters of water each day (that's about eight, 8-ounce glasses) to stay hydrated. In extreme temperatures, two to four 8-ounce glasses of fluid an hour will help keep you hydrated and decrease the risks for heat exhaustion or heat stroke."
I know that's an area I have to help my senior mom with – reminding her to drink more water more often. And it's not just drinking in general but what you drink as well. As the CDC puts it, "AVOID beverages with alcohol and drinks high in sugar since they don't fight dehydration and can make symptoms worse. Stay away from caffeinated and carbonated beverages when you feel thirsty. Sports drinks may be appropriate when you're physically active but remember that they have high levels of sugar, salt, and potassium."
Whenever we head out for the day, whether I have the grandkids, my senor mom, or even just myself, I always make sure to bring extra water with us. I routinely keep Nestle's Pure Life water bottles in the back of the car as a precaution. I also have several re-fillable water containers with big mouths so I can add ice as well as water.
All in all, this is good information for all of us in the Sandwich Generation, including those of us in the fighting-aging Baby Boomers Generation. If we stay on top of it so that it never becomes an issue, it's one less problem for us to have to deal with later. And that's especially important when we're involved in any of our favorite summer activities for grandparents and their grandchildren, such as a fun, hot and heavy game of tennis with the grandkids not to mention Bocce with the seniors. 🙂