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Hydration - In September 2012 Susan almost died from dehydration
Elderly people need to keep a healthy amount of fresh fluids flowing in and out of their bodies. Water flushes out wastes, regulates body temperature, carries nutrients to vital organs, and supports chemical balances. Staying well hydrated boosts energy. It also helps keep the skin moist, which is necessary for dry, aging skin. Signs of dehydration include dizziness, weakness, muscle cramps and general feelings of weakness.
The older generation is suffering from kidney problems, urinary tract infections, constipation and other health conditions linked to a chronic state of dehydration. And the elderly are especially affected by dehydration because many of the medications they take deplete the body’s water supply without their realizing it.
Hydration concerns the balance of your body’s water and fluids. Dehydration is your body suffering from a water and fluid imbalance. As you age dehydration happens easier because natural changes in your body change the way your kidneys manage fluids. Urinary tract infection risk increases. Some health complications impede thirst sensations that would normally alert you to consume fluids. You can imagine how highly critical it is for elderly people to maintain proper hydration. You should be aware of the symptoms of dehydration - more importantly if you are providing care for your parents or any elderly person. You should understand and follow the standard adequate intakes established by the Institute of Medicine in 2004. If you suspect you or someone else is having a series effect of dehydration consult your doctor or a health care professional to make sure there is no need for emergency treatment.
Water Intake for Seniors
Water is one of the most important fluids required by your body. It protects your kidneys, helps digestion and plays a role in regulating body temperature. People over age 60 tend to dehydrate easier because of inadequate water consumption and increased loss of stored water from kidney capacity changes. However, water intake may vary if you have specific health conditions like heart or kidney disease.
Figuring out the best source of water comes from evaluating people’s individual drinking habits. A good way to research your hydration needs is to search on-line and use a “water intake calculator” available on websites. They use your weight, activity level and location to estimate how much fluid you need to drink per day.
Water is not the only fluid important to hydration and health. Electrolytes -- electrically charged ions that communicate functions between your nerves, muscles and organs -- are also important to hydration. The primary electrolytes include sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium. These minerals work together to maintain fluid volume inside and outside of your cells as well as protect you from cardiovascular disease, heart rhythm abnormality and high blood pressure. A balanced diet including fresh fruits and vegetables or juices, sports drinks and tea can supply you with electrolytes.
Sports drinks such as Gatorade are a quick and efficient way to replenish lost electrolytes, and are the most popular method for athletes. However, these drinks usually contain a large amount of sugar as well, so drink in moderation, or add a bit of water to dilute the drink.
Pedialyte is another choice for replacing lost electrolytes. Sold in grocery and drugstores, it is similar to sports drinks but does not contain large amounts of sugar. Because of this, Pedialyte is ideal for infants and children who are dehydrated due to sickness.
The BBC News article "Eat bananas and live longer" notes that "bananas, raisins, potatoes and dates" are all excellent sources of electrolytes. Avocados, brown rice, lima beans, apples and yams will all provide your body the minerals for a good electrolyte balance.
Food and Hydration
Water is not the only way to stay hydrated. Food can help supply you with adequate hydration. Some foods also include water: soups, yogurt, fruits such as watermelon, apples, oranges and tomatoes, and vegetables like lettuce, carrots and cucumbers. According to a 2007 hydration review in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition," produce such as broccoli, lettuce, strawberries and watermelon have 91 to 100 percent water content. Apples, gelatin, grapes, citrus and milk have 80 to 90 percent water content and peas, frozen yogurt, eggs and fish have 70 to 79 percent water content. Eating a diet including these varied foods and drinking liquid beverages will help you stay hydrated and healthy.
Many things around you influence hydration. Climate changes can affect fluid retention. Adjust beverage intake based on outside temperature, activity level and medical conditions that may cause your heart to work harder to pump blood. According to the Texas Heart Institute, dehydration is a high risk in the elderly during seasons of extreme heat, especially for people with a heart condition. Medications may also impact your fluid balance. Consult your physician for hydration recommendations to prevent illness like heat stroke due to dehydration.
Alcoholic beverages don’t help your daily fluid intake. Alcohol inhibits the body’s anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) causing a loss of fluids. Black tea, green tea, caffeinated sodas and coffee have a dehydrating result. Health experts recommend starting your day with water. Your body becomes dehydrated while you sleep during the night. Hydration greatly benefits from drinking water first thing in the morning.
Some kidney or other medical conditions require that fluid intake be monitored. Also, if it appears your parents are steering clear of water, take the time to find out why. For example, you might find your dad is lowering his intake because getting to the bathroom is a hassle. Your mom may be cutting down her fluids because she fears incontinence. These indicate other health problems that will only be exacerbated by limiting their fluid intake. So, find out what’s going on first and then create a hydration strategy that suits your parents’ needs and lifestyles.
Nutrion - Eating enough to maintain your body
Exercise - Mind and Body
Exercising your brain is just as important as exercising other areas of the body, especially for the elderly. Mental exercise helps maintain cognitive abilities and function, and it creates new synapses, or information highways, helping seniors try to stay sharp. The brain doesn't die as we age, but it grows rusty from lack of exercise and activity. You can help reduce loss of memory, reasoning capabilities and other brain functions with regular exercise, games and activities that keep your brain active and engaged
Susan likes to do crossword puzzles and she reads a little. These days we encourage her to write about what she did or saw during the day. We take her to the Northridge Mall and she is interested in seeing things in stores and people watching. She really enjoys watching toddlers. She also likes to wacth the Lakers games. Susan used to make her schedule aorund their games on TV. She has a circuit of restaurants and the waitresses are her fans. They warmly greet her and encourage her to eat and drink water. Most of them mention their parents. She inspires a lot of people because she is sharp for
Medication and Suppliments
Susan is very fortunate she requires little medication. Her Blood Pressure is a little high and she takes Losartan. That's pretty much it besides vitamins.
She did take osteoporosis medicine to strengthen her bones. However, she did not drink enough water and ended up damaging her esophagus resulting in "pill esophagitis".
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