As a proud part of the Houston community, those of us at Trusted Senior Specialists experience plenty of hot and sunny summer days. If you have reached retirement age or help care for a senior, you should take particular care to avoid senior dehydration as the days get hotter. Actually, people of any age need to be sure to stay hydrated on hot days, but young children and senior citizens might be particularly vulnerable.

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Why are seniors more vulnerable to dehydration?
Studies have suggested that people lose some of their ability to feel thirsty or dehydrated as they age. That makes the situation all the more difficult because seniors may only begin to notice a problem when they experience severe symptoms.

Besides not feeling dehydration intensely, senors may also be more likely to experience harmful symptoms for the following reasons:

• Certain medications tend to increase thirst and dehydration.
• Elderly people tend to have a higher body temperature than younger people.
• Normal body water content decreases with age.
• The kidneys begin to lose their ability to concentrate water and reserve water.
• Underlying health problems make it more difficult to adapt to high temperatures.

Senior dehydration is a very significant problem, and you should know that estimates of the avoidable costs from sending dehydrated senior citizens to the emergency room are over one billion dollars each year!

Tips to help prevent senior dehydration
Obviously, the way to avoid dehydration is to make certain that a senior citizen drinks plenty of fluids. However, if you are used to relying upon a sensation of thirst, you might find that this is no longer adequate. These tips may help you avoid senior dehydration and reduce the risks of health problems from the heat.

Plain water is usually just fine, so your first step is to make certain that water is accessible to a senior at all times. This includes remembering to take a water bottle on outings and keeping one near the bed or favorite chair. When taking medications, it is best to drink a full glass of water unless the label advises otherwise.

While hydration is necessary, be wary of sugary drinks like some energy drinks, flavored waters and canned ice tea. Many sweet drinks have more sugar than donuts, and most seniors need to be extra careful of empty calories and excess sugar. You can flavor water or plain tea with a squeeze of citrus juice or dab of honey.

Natural fruit smoothies
Natural fruit smoothies are easy to make, taste great, and provide plenty of hydration. The easiest way to prepare for these is to keep frozen fruit on hand, bur fresh fruit works well too. You can use what you want, but favorites include bananas, berries, applies, and citrus. If you slip in a piece of a carrot or two, you can add more nutrition and nobody will even notice.

Simply add an equal part of fruit and ice ot your blender or food processor. Add about ¼ cup of milk or milk alternative (soy, almond, etc.). Blend it up and serve for a refreshing treat on a hot day that also packs some fiber and plenty of nutrients.

The mix won’t be very sweet, but many people like their natural smoothies this way. If you prefer, you can add a little honey or other flavoring. Go ahead and experiment to come up with your favorite variations.

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