By: Lisa Kaylor Wolfe
It is important for people of all ages to stay hydrated when it’s hot. But when it comes to seniors, it’s even more vital. As we age, individuals tend to hold less water, which can quickly lead to dehydration, and many times we also lose the ability to perceive how thirsty we truly are. Without this perception of thirst, we often will not drink as much as we once did.
Here are a few tips for staying hydrated, especially in the summer heat:
Don’t wait to experience thirst
As mentioned above, many older adults do not perceive thirst as they once did. But even when they do experience thirst, it is already too late. The effects of dehydration begin before you get the sensation of thirst. The best way to ensure you are drinking water—without relying on thirst as an indicator—is to place reminders on your phone and around your house. When these reminders go off, or you see that sticky note on your countertop, grab an 8-ounce glass of water.
Another recommendation is for individuals to think of something they do frequently. For example, many people read, listen to the radio, or watch tv. When a new chapter is reached, or a commercial comes on, let that be a cue to take a sip of water. Sips of water regularly throughout the day help us stay hydrated while avoiding the need to consume large quantities of fluid at once.
Eat your water
Fruits and vegetables often have a high-water content. Some of the highest include watermelon, cucumbers, and grapefruit. By incorporating these foods into your diet, you can drink less water while maintaining your fluid intake for the day.
Avoid excess alcohol consumption
A glass or two of wine is generally okay, but drinking alcohol in excess can lead to dehydration. It may lead to excess urine output, and, in severe cases, vomiting, which may all lead to dehydration. When drinking alcohol, have a glass of water before you begin. Then alternate between an alcoholic beverage and a glass of water. Before bed, be sure to have one last glass of water.
If you ever experience symptoms of dehydration, such as dry mouth, headache, dry skin, or dizziness, it is important to seek medical attention.