Why Hydration is Important for Senior Health
A healthy lifestyle starts first and foremost with drinking enough water to stay hydrated. Living in a warmer climate, however, means being more cautious when it comes to hydration for seniors. Hydration not only affects physical health but mental health as well. Arizona is warmer than most climates, especially in the summer. How much water do you drink every day?
Below we’ll discuss the benefits of staying hydrating for seniors, as well as tips for getting enough water every day.
Further Your Health with Senior Hydration
How much water do you need to drink each day to stay hydrated? While the old advice used to be eight 8-oz glasses of water each day, recently health experts are advising to follow this formula:
Your Weight / 2 = ________ ounces of water
For example, a 140-pound adult would need to drink 70 ounces of water each day – minimum. And when the temperatures rise, that number should increase as well, so seniors stay hydrated. Here are some compelling reasons to increase your water intake:
- Mental Alertness and Energy Levels: Dehydration could be why you’ve been feeling tired or lethargic. Since water is such a significant part of your body composition, drinking enough gives your brain and body what it needs to properly operate. Even mild dehydration has been suggested to have an impact on brain function. Increase your water intake and see if you notice a difference in your energy levels!
- Constipation Relief: If you’ve struggled with bowel movements as you’ve entered retirement years, a lack of water could be the case. When combined with a healthy diet, staying hydrated can help prevent constipation and improve your digestive system. Some water even comes fortified with magnesium, which will further contribute to a healthy bowel.
- Keeping Headaches at Bay: Headaches are not only an inconvenience, but they are painful and often result in light and sound sensitivities. For those who are not suffering from a headache-related condition, a lack of water is one of the top reasons for headaches. While hydration for seniors can help manage headaches, it can also provide some relief if you are currently experiencing one.
- Healthy Bodyweight: While maintaining a healthy weight is important for lowering your risk of a lot of health conditions, it gets more challenging as we age. In our retirement years, our metabolism tends to slow down and our mobility declines, meaning we aren’t burning as many calories and have a harder time working them off with regular physical activity. Drinking water can help keep your weight in check and also curb unnecessary snacking.
- Helping with Kidney Stones: If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, you know how painful they are as they try to exit the body. Often, these clumps of mineral buildup need medical help to pass. Drinking hydrating fluids can help your kidneys break up and flush kidney stones, and possibly prevent them from coming back.
The Effects of Dehydration in Seniors
While dehydration can be problematic for people of every age, it is dangerous for young kids and those of retirement age and above. Some medications seniors have been prescribed can lead to dehydration, so it is important to ask your doctor about potential side effects and increase water intake if you notice symptoms of dehydration after you start taking the medicine.
Senior Dehydration Symptoms
Knowing what dehydration feels like, and even looks like in others, can help you prevent dehydration. Some of the below symptoms may seem pretty obvious, but there are others that you may not have known.
Feeling thirsty is usually the first clue that your body needs more water, but studies suggest your body is already dehydrated at this point. Dizziness and disorientation are usually the next step in dehydration, leading to fainting if you don’t take action right away. If you notice any dizziness, make sure to take a seat and get some water into your system immediately.
Additional physical side effects of dehydration include mild headaches, nausea, and less frequent trips to the bathroom. It’s important to pay attention to what your body is telling you, even if they seem minor. Some of the more serious symptoms of dehydration include increased heart rate or drop in blood pressure.
By listening to what your body is telling you and taking action instead of ignoring the signs, you can help prevent a much larger issue from taking hold.
How to Stay Hydrated as a Senior in Arizona
It can be easy to get so busy you forget to stop and take a drink of water, but senior hydration is essential to keeping you operating at peak condition. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your hydration at the top of your list.
The first step to preventing dehydration is keeping water around at all times. Make it a habit to fill a water bottle and carry it with you whenever you venture out. When you have water on hand, you won’t struggle to find a drink if you become thirsty on your travels – even if it’s a short trip. While it may be tempting to keep a bottle of water in the car, the Arizona heat can easily make water too hot to drink.
For some, the flavor of water is tough to bear, making it harder to drink the recommended amount every day. Simple solutions like adding low-calorie flavorings or even frozen fruit can infuse your water, making it taste much more pleasant. Lemons, strawberries, and cucumber are all easily accessible and are a popular addition to water. There are also some flavored, calorie-free sparkling water options that can replace heavy sodas.
Regular reminders can help you drink water. Technology can be a great thing, especially since you can set reoccurring reminders alerting you when to drink water or even take your medications. It may be surprising but drinking water only during meals is not providing you enough hydration throughout the day.
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NOTE: If you drink water and still feel dehydrated, contact your doctor right away. They may suggest an electrolyte solution or for you to seek emergency medical attention depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Let’s Keep Ourselves Hydrated
Senior mental and physical health can be impacted by the level of hydration in seniors. The proper level of hydration can help you have more energy and be in a better mode.
Dehydration is risky for seniors and should be taken seriously. Remember, if you feel thirsty, drink water. If you feel dizzy or a spike in your heart rate, seek shade or air conditioning to sit in and alert someone for help in case the symptoms progress to fainting. Also, carrying water with you everywhere can help you remember to drink it and provide you a quick drink if you feel the effects of dehydration.
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