5274 Scotts Valley Dr., #102 Scotts Valley, CA 95066 831-430-0616 www.VisitingAngels.com/CentralCoast 229 Reindollar Ave., Suite E Marina, CA 93933 831-392-0876
It’s Not Sweater Weather Can You Recognize the Signs of Dehydration?
Some years ago, we got a call from one of our Angels who had just arrived at their care recipient’s home. The inside temperature of the house was 105 degrees and all the windows were shut, but despite the sweltering heat, the senior client insisted she was freezing. She even had a sweater on. This, together with the fact that her legs were so weak she could barely walk, was a huge red flag. We rushed her to the hospital, where she was treated for dehydration. Senior dehydration is a big problem that loved ones and caregivers need to be aware of. Dehydration happens when a person takes in less water than they lose, something that is very common in seniors for a number of reasons. Certain medications may cause seniors to sweat more or impair their body’s ability to regulate its temperature. The kidneys aren’t able to conserve as much fluid as they could in youth and a person can lose their sense of thirst as they get older, meaning they don’t notice when their body needs water. These factors, combined with the fact that August tends to be one of the hottest months of the year here in California, result in many seniors being hospitalized for dehydration and related complications. It is incredibly important for people who spend time around seniors to recognize the signs of dehydration or heat-related illness. Be on the lookout for things like dry mouth, confusion, difficulty walking, sunken eyes, dizziness, or rapid heart rate. Seniors can fail to recognize the symptoms themselves because, as was the case with our care recipient wearing a sweater in a 105-degree house, it’s hard to stay cool when you don’t know you’re hot! Cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are other heat- related illnesses that can afflict seniors during the summer
months. This time of year, it’s important
that seniors take extra precautions to learn how to beat the heat. At Visiting Angels, we recommend these helpful strategies:
• Avoid spending time in direct sunlight. • Keep windows shut and blinds closed during hot days. • Minimize activity during the hottest part of the day (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). • Eat small meals and keep fats, sugars, and alcohol off the menu. • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing. • Stay in cooler areas of the home with air conditioning or electric fans. • Place cool, damp towels on the wrists and back of the neck. There are also strategies caregivers and loved ones can employ to help seniors stay hydrated, including providing plenty of hydrating fruit and other snacks and making water readily available, even when seniors claim not to be thirsty. Visiting Angels caregivers are instructed on how to help make sure our care recipients stay hydrated and don’t end up in the hospital. There are a lot of fun things to do during the warm summer months. Going to the hospital isn’t one of them.
Cindy Saunders, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
831-430-0616 | 1
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