After 20 years of caring for families at Pueblo Community Health Center, Dr. Rona Knudsen embraces her role as InnovAge PACE’s Center Medical Director, helping vulnerable older adults in the community. <br />
Staying Hydrated as the Temperature Rises
June 23, 2020
“By composition, our bodies are close to 60% water. Staying hydrated is important for so many of our mental and physical functions,” explains Dr. Mark Learned, InnovAge’s medical director for Colorado.
“Between 20 and 30% of older adults are chronically dehydrated. Medications such as diuretics, laxatives, and sedatives often used by seniors can contribute to dehydration. They are also more likely to become sick and need medical attention if they do get dehydrated.”
Here are some tips to help your older loved one stay hydrated during the summer and throughout the year:
- Encourage them to drink small amounts of water throughout the day; using a straw can make it easier.
- Have them keep a water bottle with them. “You can order bottles or mugs with personal pictures on them, like children, grandchildren, or pets,” says Dr. Learned.
- Set an alarm to remind them to drink.
- Encourage water before and after every meal.
- Try adding some flavor like fruit infused water, and remember that fruits and vegetables are made up of mostly water!
- Dry mouth
- Headache, dizziness, confusion
- Urine that is amber or dark in color
- Infrequent urination
- Weakness, lethargy
InnovAge care team members work with participants in the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and their caregivers to provide education on the benefits of hydration and encouraging water intake while seniors are at the centers. “Staff also provide nutritional evaluations and consultations and we check kidney function and electrolytes at every 6 month medical clinic visit,” explains Dr. Learned.