Spring may be in full swing at the moment, but here in just a month or so, the hot summer weather will be upon us. While this means lots of fun outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking, or attending sporting events, it also means that senior adults need to be extra cautious. The heat can be very dangerous for people of all ages, but prolonged exposure is especially worrisome for seniors. It only takes a matter of minutes for heat stroke to happen and cause life-threatening issues.
That being said, we want all of our residents at our senior independent living in Carlsbad to have a safe, enjoyable summer. That is why we’ve compiled some helpful information you need to know about dehydration and heat stroke as well as how you can combat the summer heat. Keep reading to learn more!
Warning Signs of Dehydration
First and foremost, it is important to understand and be able to recognize the warning signs of dehydration. Older adults naturally have a diminished sense of thirst which automatically puts them at a greater risk of dehydration and in turn, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Here are a few of the most common warning signs of dehydration:
- Dizziness or lethargy
- Dry mouth and tongue with thick saliva
- Body weakness or difficulty moving limbs
- Dry skin
- Limb cramps
- Increased irritability
Should any of the above symptoms occur, it is vital that you act immediately. If you are experiencing these symptoms, tell a friend or staff member or call for help. Don’t wait! As a caregiver, help your senior loved one by giving them something to drink and moving them out of the sun and into an air conditioned place if possible.
If these symptoms are ignored or otherwise left unremedied, the situation can escalate and become more serious, even life-threatening. Additional symptoms will include a rapid but weak heart rate, sunken eyes, low blood pressure, delirium, bloated stomach, seizures, and more. If any of these are occuring, call an ambulance or get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
6 Quick Hydration Tips
Now that you have a little background information on what dehydration looks like, it’s time to delve into how you can better stay hydrated in the summer heat. Check out these helpful tips courtesy of our independent living in Carlsbad:
#1.) Drink Fluids Throughout the Day
One of the most effective ways to ward off dehydration is to make sure that you are continually pushing fluids throughout the day. Remember, feeling thirsty is one of the first signs of dehydration. This is especially important because seniors naturally have a diminished thirst. Invest in a reusable water bottle that can keep your water cold and is easy to drink from. As a standard rule, most adults need at least 64 oz of water each day. However, make sure to check in with your doctor to see if you need to up your water intake due to medications or health concerns.
#2.) Avoid Excess Caffeine or Sugary Drinks
While you might think ‘all fluids are good fluids’, this simply isn’t the case. In fact, certain beverages, such as alcohol, soda, sugary juices, and coffee can all actually add to dehydration. Avoid drinking these in excess, especially if you are planning on sending a significant amount of time outdoors. Instead, opt for water or sports drinks that help you replenish electrolytes.
#3.) Take Breaks As Needed
It is very easy to lose track of time while you’re outdoors and having fun. After all, you’ve been waiting all winter to head to the golf course or take your grandkids to the zoo. However, it is important to be mindful of your sun exposure and if you feel as if you are overheating. Remember to take breaks as needed and spend as much time in the shade as possible. Use these breaks to prioritize drinking water and cooling down. If you are feeling any of the warning signs that were mentioned above, be sure to tell someone right away.
#4.) Wear Breathable Clothing
Staying hydrated isn’t just about how much water you intake each day, but it’s also about making sure that you are staying cool. When planning to head outdoors for a prolonged period of time, ensure that you are wearing light, breathable clothing. Fabrics such as linen and cotton tend to be cooler than heavier alternatives such as wool, rayon, and denim. Also, don’t forget to pack a hat and sunscreen! These items will go a long way in helping you to have a fun and safe outdoor experience.
#5.) Know Your Medications
Some medications can actually increase your risk of dehydration, such as diuretics. Also, certain medications, such as blood pressure meds or antibiotics, can make you susceptible to redness during sun exposure. If you aren’t sure about your medication’s side effects, review them with your pharmacist or doctor. Knowing this information in advance can be vital for keeping you safe during the warmer spring and summer months.
#6.) Act on Early Warning Signs
To reiterate what was stated above, it is absolutely essential that you act on the early warning signs of dehydration. Whether it is happening with yourself or another senior person, be sure to seek help ASAP. If you are a resident at our senior independent living in Carlsbad, report any dehydration to a staff member as quickly as possible. It only takes approximately 10-15 minutes for heat stroke to occur, so there is no time to wait in these types of situations.
Have a Safe, Happy Summer at Bayshire Carlsbad
Making the move to a senior living community is one of the best ways to ensure that your health and wellness is taken care of all year round. If you want to enjoy a safe and happy summer filled with all of your favorite outdoor activities, then it’s time to make the transition to our independent living in Carlsbad! Not only do we have a thriving community with a robust activity calendar, but our staff is always on location and ready to help residents to lead their happiest, healthiest lives. To schedule a tour of our community or to find out information about the services we offer, contact us today!