Hydration and Seniors

Are you drinking enough water? Although the amount of water a person needs to drink varies, a general rule of thumb is at least eight, eight ounce, glasses per day.

Our bodies use the water we drink to replenish the moisture we lose throughout the day. Water is needed to hydrate blood and tissue, lubricate joints, regulate body temperature, promote digestion and plays an integral part in ridding one’s body of waste. More than 50% of one’s body is comprised of water, making it a vital part in maintaining a healthy body.

If we fail to replace the water our body has used, we may suffer from dehydration. Dehydration is a physiological state where one’s body does not have enough fluids to perform its functions.

Seniors are very susceptible to dehydration and must be sure to stay properly hydrated. Seniors are less likely than younger adults to realize that they are thirsty, causing them to drink fewer liquids. At the same time, they might routinely take medications, and/or ingest caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, which have diuretic effects. Furthermore, the kidneys of some older adults may have a reduced ability to regulate their bodies’ water levels.

Taking a deliberate role in staying hydrated is very important for seniors, therefore here are several ways to help keep yourself and your loved ones hydrated:

  • Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink, your body always needs water.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of liquids per day.
  • When at home, keep ice and drinks within reach for easier access.
  • On the go, keep a water bottle with you and take frequent sips.
  • Drink frequently during the daytime, rather than drinking large amounts at one time.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content (watermelon, lettuce, broccoli, grapes, etc).
    • Soups, smoothies, popsicles, and yogurt also have high water content.
  • Choose water instead of syrup/sugar-sweetened, caffeinated, or alcoholic beverages.
    • If you do drink the beverages above, try cutting sweet drinks with water or choosing decaffeinated coffee and tea.

Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure these tips are right for your health and lifestyle.

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