Did you know that as we age, the mechanism in our body that tells us we're thirsty becomes less sensitive? This means that for seniors, although you may not seem thirsty, you're at higher risk of dehydration. And with the heat wave that has blanketed half the country lately, there's never been a better time to learn a little bit about the importance of hydration.
Most people know our bodies are made up of water over 60 percent of our body weight, in fact. Additionally, water helps maintain our body temperature, carry nutrients and waste? it even helps moisturize our ears, nose and throat.
There are many signs of dehydration. A few include: fever, dizziness, constipation, dry mouth, concentrated/decreased urine, dry skin and more.
Below are a few tips for seniors to stay hydrated. If you have any more, leave a comment with your suggestion!
1. Drink plenty of water daily and don't wait until you are thirsty. Thirst is not a sign that you are becoming dehydrated! Drinking water throughout the day keeps your body hydrated. Aim for six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid, unless your doctor tells you to drink less because of heart problems or edema. Also, don't waste your money on soft drinks, juices or nonnutritive beverages. The only thing you really need is water. Save the soft drinks and juices for a treat.
2. Limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption they act as diuretics and stimulate urination.
3. If exercising in the heat, take regular breaks and drink a low-sugar sports beverage it contains important electrolytes that are commonly lost when you perspire and gives your muscles energy from the carbohydrate content. The sodium content helps retain those fluids in your body longer, thus promoting hydration.
4. Keep watermelon cut and chilled in the refrigerator - it's packed with natural water, tastes great and can be easier to swallow if you aren't a fan of water. In fact, many fruits and vegetables are packed with plenty of hydrating liquids and are great as meals and snack options. Eating berries even helps your body store the water you do drink.
5. Eat plenty of potassium rich foods (unless you are restricted by the doctor): bananas, raisins, potatoes and spinach. Potassium is lost through sweating during exercise and if not replenished can cause muscles to cramp up.
Always consult your physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
For many seniors, establishing and maintaining a regular, nutritious diet is one reason for considering a move to a worry-free retirement apartment or personal care community. Concordia always offers free, personalized tours at our seven locations - Cabot, South Hills, Allison Park (Rebecca Residence), Cranberry, Fox Chapel, Butler (Orchard), Plum Borough (Ridgewood Place) - for individuals wishing to learn more.
E-mail us here or call 1.888.352.1571 to see what might be right for you or your loved one.