Information gathered and prepared by A. DiLibero, Registered Dietitian, Portage Medical Family Health Team
Seniors and Keeping Hydrated
Hydration is important year round however during warmer weather staying well hydrated is essential. Seniors are at increased risk for dehydration for many reasons including:
- Decreased thirst sensation
- Changes in functional ability
- Cognitive impairment
Dehydration is a common cause of hospitalization among the elderly and symptoms of dehydration often go unrecognized. Below are some of the signs of dehydration:
- Dizziness, weakness and confusion
- Dark strong smelling urine
- Increase risk of falls
- Low blood pressure
Many follow the general rule of drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water daily however some people can tolerate less and some will need more, like in the summer months if you are sweating. Also, some medical conditions like heart failure require more specific fluid needs. When choosing beverages check for ingredients like sodium and sugar which can affect health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Tips for Increasing Water Intake
- Keep a variety of sources on hand – you don’t have to just drink water to stay hydrated. Coffee, tea, milk, sparkling water and foods like yogurt, custard, fruit and vegetables help keep us hydrated.
- Keep a drink close by at all times. Sip something throughout the day. If you wait until you are thirsty to drink you are likely already dehydrated. Keep a drink in a place where you can see it often like on the kitchen table or beside your favourite chair. Use an insulated cup that regulates the temperature and is easy to take with you on the go.
- Experiment with different temperatures and flavours. Try adding cucumbers, mint, berries or orange slices to make drinks more appealing.
- Include smoothies and meal supplements for meals and snacks.