As familiar as we might already be with the importance of hydration, not all of us have the good habit of ensuring sufficient water intake. While we might get away with it in our younger days, the same might not hold true for the later years of our life. Over the years, numerous studies have shown that older adults are more prone and at risk of dehydration as compared to other age groups. This can be attributed to a variety of reasons, such as a lower sense of appetite and thirst, body composition changes, as well as the increased likelihood of taking medications that increase dehydration risk. Additionally, younger bodies are also known to regulate body temperatures better than older adults. As such, it is imperative that older adults consume a sufficient amount of water to prevent dehydration. Read on to find out how you may encourage the elderly to drink more water.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Being able to quickly recognize signs that you might be at risk of dehydration allows you to make changes to your daily water intake levels to prevent dehydration. Some of the common symptoms of dehydration are:
- Muscles cramping
- Sunken eyes
- Decreased urination
- Urine that appears darker than normal
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Dry mouth
- Fatigue and tiredness
Formulate a Daily Water Intake Goal
Estimations show that 80% of our fluid intake is achieved through drinking liquids, while the remaining 20% comes from the foods we consume. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that you achieve a daily water intake of:
- 2.7 liters (0.713 gallons) for women
- 3.7 liters (0.978 gallons) for men
Consume More Vegetables and Fresh Fruits
As mentioned above, 20% of our fluid intake comes from the foods we consume. Most of the time, these liquids come from foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. If you find that you have trouble achieving the daily water intake solely through drinking water, then you may want to incorporate foods that are rich in moisture into your diet, such as:
If you or your loved one have troubles or difficulties in keeping track of your water intake, then programs like our Sensations Dining may be helpful, where such foods are constantly being incorporated into dishes to ensure that every resident stays hydrated.
Increasing Water Intake When Exercising
As we exercise, we lose fluids through perspiration, which speeds up dehydration. The bodies of older adults also don’t regulate temperature as effectively, which means that they are at a higher risk of dehydration. As such, before you go about your exercise sessions, you should ensure that you carry a sufficient amount of water in your bottle. Throughout the workout, you should take breaks as often as you need to drink.
Assisted Living Communities
If you know of someone who might have difficulties in consuming or remembering to consume liquids, then it may be time to consider assisted living communities to minimize the risks of dehydration.