The importance of hydration
For older adults, drinking enough water and maintaining hydration is important to overall health. Not getting enough water daily can impact your well-being in many ways.
What causes lowered levels of hydration?
Older adults are more prone to becoming dehydrated for several reasons. Older adults tend to have a diminished sense of thirst. So, even though the body may be dehydrated and need hydration, the body’s response to tell you to drink fluids (i.e., thirst) isn’t working as it should. Additionally, older adults tend to take more medications, which also leads to improper hydration levels. Moreover, as we age, our body composition changes, so often we start the day with less water to begin with, putting us “in the negative.”
How do I know if I am dehydrated?
There are many signs to alert you to grab that glass of water. First, look for signs of excessive sweating. If you are ill or have a fever, you should increase your water intake. If you drink a lot of coffee or soda, the caffeine can disrupt your hydration levels. Additionally, body symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, or muscle cramping can all be key signs that you need to drink more water.
Health benefits of hydration
Instead of waiting for the signs of dehydration, get ahead of the curve and commit to drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily (about 50-60 ounces). Keeping your hydration high will prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), indigestion, and weight gain, and even reduce your fall risk. Additionally, keeping up your water intake flushes waste from the body, lubricates joints (a plus for older adults), and regulates body temperature.
I just can’t drink that much water
It’s hard to commit to drinking a substantial amount of water every day. So, what can you do? Here are a few tips:
- Flavor your water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice
- If you love cold water, invest in a stainless steel cup that will keep it ice cold
- If you love your water at room temperature, invest in a water pitcher that you can keep on your counter
- Drink on a schedule, like at the top of every hour during the day
- Set up challenges with friends to see who can drink the most water
- Download a water-tracking app on your phone
Infinity Rehab wishes you good luck in your quest to maintain hydration!