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July 31, 2012

Older Adults—Drink Up! Protect Yourself against Dehydration

More than 170 all-time high temperature records fell across the United States during June’s record-breaking, triple-digit heat wave. In case you didn’'t hear the news over the constant thrum of your air conditioner, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently confirmed that the past 12-months have been the hottest since recordkeeping began in 1895. And August, traditionally the hottest month of the year, is just starting! 

What This Means for You

It’s important to stay hydrated when temperatures turn sizzling. It doesn’'t take long for extreme heat to cause dehydration. Dehydration can have serious physical consequences, but new studies have found that dehydration can also have a profound affect on mental capacity and emotional health. The combination of mental and physical impairment is a one-two punch with the potential to turn a bad situation deadly.

In recent studies, researchers at the University of Connecticut Human Performance Laboratory found that even mild dehydration can impair memory and affect a person’'s ability to concentrate. Dehydration can also cause fatigue, headaches, changes in mood, and anxiety. In tests, researchers discovered that the negative effects of dehydration were the same whether the individual engaged in moderate exercise or sat quietly.

How to Beat the Heat

Because the body can become dangerously dehydrated before thirst kicks in, experts recommend drinking eight eight-ounce glasses (two liters) of water per day to stay properly hydrated. During periods of extreme heat or physical activity, water intake should be increased.

Maintaining proper hydration is one of many health concerns our caregivers address with residents of Kendal at Oberlin and members of Kendal at Home and Senior Independence. Visit our website to learn more about wellness services offered by Kendal.

Photo: showcaseindia
 MentalHealth blog


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