Senior Living 101: How to Prevent Dehydration

seniors bonding over a tea

Dehydration is a huge issue, particularly for seniors. The National Center Health Statistics, NCHS, states that seniors above 75 years old have twice as much risk of being hospitalized than individuals between 65 and 74 years old because of dehydration.

This risk goes up as individuals age due to various reasons. Thirst sensation decreases with age, so some seniors have a hard time determining if they’re actually thirsty. Bone and muscle mass that contains 73% water also start to decrease with age, which reduces the fluid reserves of their bodies.

Additionally, chronic illnesses, cognitive problems, and reduced mobility can worsen the problem. Whether you live with family or in an independent living facility here in Phoenix, here’s how you can avoid dehydration.

Try Mixing It Up

While water is the best hydrator, it’s best to mix it up from time to time, especially if you like drinking other liquids. It’s also a good idea that you place a water pitcher and cup or tumblers near you usual spots in the house so you won’t forget to drink water throughout the day and whenever you are in your home. Considering that you get at least eight full glasses of water daily, you can put some fruit in plain water or drink juice and milk. Do note though that juices contain high amounts of sugar, so take it easy on the juice if you have diabetes or high blood sugar.

Certain fruits and veggies such as watermelon and cabbage are hydrating so try to work these in your diet as well.

Consider Medications You’re Taking and Any Health Conditions You Have

In the event that you have a sore throat, common cold, unmanaged diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, or kidney disease, it’s imperative that you drink more than the commonly recommended eight full glasses of water daily.

Certain medications such as diuretics for reducing excess fluid in the body, pain relievers, alpha blockers for regulating blood pressure, sedatives and antidepressants also increase the risk of dehydration because they increase urination.

Also, some dietary extracts and nutrition supplements could likewise increase your risk of being dehydrated; these include watercress, dandelion, celery seed and parsley, among others.

Watch Your Intake of Salt

Salt or sodium, with help from potassium, helps regulate your body’s water balance. But most individuals, including seniors, don’t consume enough potassium but consume too much salt. That being said, opt for low-salt meals whenever possible and refrain from adding extra salt in your food.

Limit Your Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption

senior couple having breakfast

Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea are known to be diuretics. Although you can have a small cup or two of coffee or tea daily, you shouldn’t count them towards your daily fluid intake. You can also consider decaffeinated coffee or tea, or drinking two glasses of water for every cup of coffee or tea you take.

This also applies to alcoholic beverages, which are very dehydrating.

It’s also very important to note that if you have heart failure or another condition that requires specific fluid intake targets, it’s best to consult your doctor before you make any changes to your fluid intake and diet.

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