This summer, as vaccinated elderly folks begin to get out once again, they need to remember to stay hydrated and look for signs of dehydration and heat-related illnesses.

Heat and proper hydration go hand in hand especially for elderly residents. According to the National Institute on Aging, “Too much heat is not safe for anyone. It is even riskier if you are older or have health problems.”

“Many seniors have received their COVID-19 vaccinations, so they are excited to get out and participate in activities again. Unfortunately, they may not be acclimated to the summer heat, which makes staying hydrated especially important for older adults,” explained Wynton Geary, health and wellness manager at Senior Connection Center.

“Proper hydration can also improve well-being, aid in prevention of many illnesses, both mental and physical, as well as reduce the need for many medications,” added Geary.

It is important that elderly people get plenty of fluids every day. Water can be found in foods, both solids and liquids as well as its natural state. Unfortunately, people tend to lose some sense of thirst as they age. Many fruits and vegetables contain water.

Here are some tips on how to stay hydrated: You should never wait until you feel thirsty to drink water or other fluids, take sips throughout the day, drink a full glass of with medications, have a glass of water before you exercise, drink fat-free or low-fat milk and other drinks with no added sugar, drink alcohol only in moderation and you should never stop drinking liquids even if you suffer a urinary control problem.

Some of the signs of dehydration include thirst, dry or sticky mouth, headaches, cramps and feeling lightheaded.

Illnesses caused by being too hot for too long are grouped under the name ‘hyperthermia.’ These include heat syncope, a sudden dizziness; heat cramps, a painful tightening of muscles in your stomach, arms or legs; heat edema, a swelling of the ankles and feet; and heat exhaustion, a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool.

If you suffer from heat stroke (symptoms include: fainting, change in behavior, temperature of 104 degrees, dry, flushed skin, rapid or slow pulse and not sweating even if it is hot), you must get medical attention immediately.

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