Hydrating our bodies is important year round, but during the summer months it’s essential to keep extra vigilant about our water intake. Seniors are especially prone to dehydration because, as we age, our bodies naturally lose more water. Additionally, older individuals don’t retain a strong sense of thirst. This can lead to quicker dehydration, which leads to more physical ailments.
Innately, aging will work against us when it comes to our hydration needs. But there are other reasons seniors can get easily dehydrated. Here are some things to watch out for:
Vomiting or diarrhea
Humidity during summer months
Memory loss through Alzheimer’s or dementia
Water is literally a lifesaver. Staying hydrated can help prevent dizziness, migraines, and cognition deficiencies, which, in turn, balances the body to assist in avoiding falls that can be severely damaging in older adults.
Plus, there are many advantages to drinking enough fluids and sipping water throughout the day:
Releases and flushes toxins from our systems
Aids in digestion
Improves skin elasticity
Boosts energy levels
Promotes good decision making
Regulates body temperature
Helps body fight infections
Supports vitamin and nutrient absorption
Assists in maintaining good dental health
So how can you tell if you’re not drinking enough water? Your body will probably let you know! Here are some signs of dehydration in seniors:
Urinary tract infection
What Can You Do to Keep Hydrated This Summer?
It seems so simple, but remembering to drink more isn’t always that inherent or fun. However, we think these suggestions can help keep you healthy and hydrated throughout your golden years:
Fill up your bottle when you get up in the morning, and finish it about two hours before bedtime to avoid late-night bathroom breaks.
Drink at least a full glass of water when taking your daily meds, even if you can swallow your dosage in just a few sips.
Keep your water bottle on an end table or coffee table when relaxing or engaging in a hobby. Get in the habit of drinking it throughout your time watching a movie, reading, or video chatting with your family.
Add plenty of ice to summer lattes, sweet tea, and sodas to squeeze in more water. Additionally, drink a full glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic drink you imbibe.
Eat more fruits and veggies! They’re nutritious and tasty, and contain lots of fluids. Try these foods to cool off and keep hydrated:
Watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew wedges
Spinach salad with strawberries and blueberries
Individual fruit cups
Frozen fruit popsicles
Smoothies blended with spinach, kale, or baby carrots
Sandwiches packed with tomato, lettuce, and fresh peppers
7. Prepare fruit-infused water. Or herb-infused! You really don’t need a fancy schmancy bottle for this either. Just pop in some berries, lemon or lime wedges, or mint leaves to your glass and say cheers!
8. Drink coconut water or sports drinks with electrolytes. If your body feels weak, they’ll give you a boost, plus replenish you for the time being.
9. Use visual and aural reminders to drink more:
Post notes around your home.
Add alerts on your phone.
Wear a fitness watch that sends reminders.
Frame a quote that says, “Drink more water, my pretty!”
Display a chalkboard with each hour of the day. Check the box when you’ve finished one glass for that time slot.
Give yourself a reward system! When you’ve gotten to your halfway mark, eat a little treat or call your favorite person.
Keep a full pitcher of water in the front of your fridge. Pour a glass every time you search for a new snack.
10. Have others help you to remember:
Recruit a responsible family member to call you at set times throughout the day.
Form a “drinking club” with your friends. Challenge each other to drink enough water on a consistent basis, maybe with a little friendly competition!
Ask a caregiver to work water breaks into your daily schedule.
Set up a regular video chat with a friend to have water and conversation.
Request the dining staff offer water with each meal.
If you have a pet, add a pendant to their collar that says, “Drink some water.” Every time you love on them, you’ll remind yourself to hydrate, too!
11. Try a gadget or two to help your hydrate! Just click the links to learn more:
Fitness watch OR reminder watch
Aging can be tough on our bodies, but we can help the process by giving ourselves the essentials we need to live our best lives. The good thing is that there are lots of ways to achieve our hydration goals. It’s about picking the simplest, most convenient strategies for our particular lifestyle, maintaining healthy habits, and adjusting to changes as we go.
Melrose Meadows is proud to help seniors with all of their wellness goals. If you need us for this chapter of your life or your loved one’s life, please call us to find out how we keep our residents hydrated and happy.