Do you think you’re drinking enough water these days? You probably aren’t, and if you’re a senior, it’s even more likely that you’re not. Yet drinking enough water, especially on hot days, is critical for good health.
Water is necessary for almost everything your body does, from pumping blood, lubricating joints or keeping a constant body temperature. So if you’re not hydrated enough, it doesn’t take long to affect your health and well-being.
As we age, our muscles and kidneys lose some of their ability to conserve water, plus our awareness of thirst lessens, so we need the fluids, whether we recognize it or not. Some seniors who deal with incontinence deliberately drink less to avoid accidents. Those with dementia may forget to eat or drink regularly, plus in later stages, swallowing may become more difficult.
Dehydration signs can be subtle at first. It may start with a headache, dark urine, constipation, or muscle cramps. More severe symptoms may be a rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, or a weak pulse. Without fluids, a person may eventually experience heat stroke, seizures, or kidney failure. Any of these symptoms that persist more than a day or two require a doctor visit or even an ER visit.
Many health experts recommend about 64 ounces of fluid every day, which includes water but also juices, or any fluids other than alcohol. Smoothies, popsicles, and many fruits or other foods can contribute to the day’s requirement. For example, one serving of cucumbers, watermelon, or grapes, contains over 90% water. Even a glass of water can be more appealing with a slice of lemon or other fruit added. Juices can be diluted with water and ice to lower the sugar content.
For additional tips to stay hydrated, check out these links: