Staying hydrated is always important for seniors’ health. However, in the summer when temperatures are high and people are more likely to spend more time in the sun, consuming enough water is essential to avoid dehydration.
Seniors can be more susceptible to water and electrolyte imbalances as we age; our body’s ability to conserve water is lowered and the sense of thirst can diminish. This means seniors should be drinking more periodically throughout the day to maintain healthy hydration levels.
Since hydration is so important, we’ve compiled a list of helpful ideas to keep in mind for the summer:
- A pint or more of water is lost every day just by breathing.
- As people get older, body water content decreases.
- By the time you feelthirsty, your water levels could already be extremely low.
- Many medications the elderly take make them more susceptible to dehydration.
- The body tends to become especially dehydrated while traveling, particularly on airplanes. Whenever flying, an additional 8 oz. of water per hour is suggested.
- Exposure to summer heat requires additional water. The body uses a great deal of water through skin-cooling perspiration.
- The first sign of dehydration may be a headachy feeling at the end of the day.
- Specific conditions, such as reduced swallowing capacity, decreased mobility, comprehension and communication disorders can contribute to dehydration.
There are a number of ways to integrate more water into your lifestyle:
- Pour water into an easy-to-use water bottle, such as a canteen or plastic tumbler cup. This makes traveling with your water easy and portable.
- Add ice and a slice of lemon or lime, this will add extra electrolytes to your water and flavor it for some delicious variety.
- Drink moderate-size portions spread over the course of the day, rather than drinking it all at one time. This not only keeps you consistently hydrated, but it also prevents over-hydration.
- Make drinking water a habit – drinking water at the same times each day will make it much easier to start incorporating it into your lifestyle.
- Don’t wait to feel thirsty to reach for a glass of water. By the time thirst develops, two or more cups of total body water have probably been lost.
The more water your body drinks, the easier it is to flush out toxins and regulate normal body functions, leading to clearer skin and easier digestion. So drink up and stay cool!
Please note that these tips are meant as guidelines. Consult with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about hydration.