The Importance of Hydration for Seniors’ Health – Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge
Sufficient hydration is imperative for the body’s functioning, so seniors should be purposeful about finding ways to get enough water throughout the day.
At times it feels that growing older creates a never-ending to do list; medications, health appointments, eating well, fitness, and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits.
As task lists grow and priorities pile up, it becomes easy for some elements to get forgotten or pushed to the bottom of the list in favour of prioritizing things that feel more urgent or important for promoting health. One of the things that is incredibly important, but is rarely given as much attention as it needs, is the practice of making sure that seniors are properly hydrated throughout the day. Sufficient hydration is imperative for the body’s functioning, so seniors should be mindful and purposeful about finding ways to help themselves get in enough water each day.
Dehydration in Seniors
Sufficient hydration is crucial for health at all ages, but is particularly important for seniors. A great many seniors do not drink nearly enough water, often because aging causes the sensation of thirst to occur significantly less frequently, while the water reserves in the body also decrease with age. Dehydration is among the top 10 causes of hospitalization for seniors, and failing to maintain a proper level of hydration by getting enough water can be detrimental to various facets of seniors’ health.
Impacts of Dehydration
Seniors’ bodies are harmed even more significantly by dehydration than those of their younger counterparts, and lack of sufficient hydration can have multiple damaging outcomes on areas such as:
• Digestive System
Dehydration can lead to numerous symptoms that impede seniors’ quality of life, such as:
• Increased Risk of Falls
• Impaired Comprehension Skills
• Decreased Mobility
Cases of extreme dehydration can even be harmful enough to endanger seniors’ lives.
Each of the concerns mentioned above reinforce the notion that proper water consumption is integral for seniors. The following are some behaviours and tools to help motivate seniors to drink enough water and keep themselves hydrated:
• Monitor Consumption of Dehydrating Food/Drinks: Salty foods and drinks that are high is caffeine, such as tea, coffee, and many soft drinks, are very dehydrating for the body. Try reducing consumption of these items, or at least monitoring them to make sure enough water is consumed to counteract their dehydrating effects.
• Eat Hydrating Foods: Try increasing intake of foods with a higher water content, such as vegetables and juicy fruits. This will help increase hydration in a way other than through drinking.
• Drink Water at Every Chance: Any chance to get in a little extra hydration is beneficial for health. When taking a sip of water to swallow a pill, try drinking an entire glass.
• Don’t Wait to Be Thirsty: Rather than only drinking when the sensation of thirst strikes, treat drinking enough water as a chore or task for the day that must be completed. It is recommended that the average person try to get about 2 litres, or around 8 glasses, of water each day to stay sufficiently hydrated.
• Choose Beverages You Like: While drinking water is undoubtedly the best way to get hydrated, consuming other liquids that you enjoy can be beneficial too. Juices, herbal teas, soup broths, and other beverages can help with hydration as well.
• Always Keep Water with You: Keep a glass or pitcher of water in the rooms at home in which most time is spent to make sure it is always accessible, and take bottled water out whenever leaving the house.
While drinking sufficient amounts of water might not seem like an urgent matter for promoting and maintaining health in comparison to other health-oriented activities such as remembering to take medication, the reality is that proper hydration is vital for the promotion and protection of health, especially when it comes to seniors. Incorporating behaviours and strategies that help keep seniors amply hydrated can lead to better overall health and wellbeing for seniors in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge.
Contact us today for a Free Home Care Assessment by a nurse to discuss how our services in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge can help you or your loved one.