Summer is here! Time for going outside on walks, outdoor cook-outs, and days by the pool. But with that also comes the heat. It is important to remember to stay hydrated in order to stay healthy, especially during the summer. Dehydration is a common cause for hospitalization among those over the age of 65. This can cause seriously damaging health effects and may even cause death if not treated.
There are many factors that contribute to seniors becoming more dehydrated. Seniors are less sensitive to the feeling of thirst, many do not feel the need to drink water. Their internal water levels are also effected due to less efficient kidneys causing urine to contain more water. Medication can also effect the body by flushing water from the body quicker, causing diarrhea, or causing excessive sweating. Battling these side effects by taking in more water is important in keeping the body healthy.
But how much water do you need on a daily basis? Well, as a general rule, a person needs 1/3 of their body weight in ounces. This means that a 150 pound person needs 50 ounces of water daily. This equals out to six 8 ounce glasses of water. However, when the weather is hot or dry, you should try to take in more water than usual. Due to medication and other health issues however, each person may need a different amount of water. When seeing your doctor it is important to have that conversation to find out exactly how much water you need.
There are so many amazing health benefits of drinking enough water. By drinking enough water each day you avoid scary health consequences and you get to benefit your body. Some benefits are reducing falls, less constipation, reduced risk of UTIs and a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. The human body is comprised of about 60% water. It needs water to function properly and it is the basis of life.
But sometimes it is hard to drink water or get those you care about to drink water. There are many strategies you can use to intake more water. A simple way is to remember that plain water is not the only way to keep hydrated. Coffee, tea, fruit juice, fruits and vegetables all contain water. Try to eat foods high in water content such as watermelon. Keep a full water bottle or pitcher of water close by at all times. Doing this will be a visual reminder to keep drinking. Try offering other drinks such as smoothies, milkshakes, or juices. Another option is to experiment with temperature and texture by trying both hot and cold beverages or adding some seltzer water to make liquids bubbly. However, when experimenting with other types of liquids keep in mind calories, sodium, and sugar content as some drinks can be high in those and not healthy, especially for those with high blood pressure and diabetes.
Stay hydrated and healthy. Have a fun Summer!