The Importance of Hydration for Older People - Celestial Care
Water pouring into a glass - showing the importance of hydration

The Importance of Hydration for Older People

Summer is here. While much of the country spends all year looking forward to the summer, we have a different attitude toward it here in Arizona.  Hot, dry summers are a concern for everyone, but especially older people.

Soaking in the pool is a great way to combat the heat, but one of the most important things you can do is to stay hydrated.

Dehydration in Older People

As we get older, our risk of dehydration increases.

For starters, our sense of thirst reduces, leaving us unable to tell when we need to drink water.  And anyone who has spent much time out here in the desert knows that if you wait until you feel thirsty, it can already be too late.

With aging comes certain changes to body composition that can result in older adults having less water in their bodies.

Also, limited mobility, being on certain medications, and cognitive impairment can all effect our intake of water, causing a strong risk of dehydration in the elderly.

Why older people must stay hydrated

Staying adequately hydrated serves to prevent dehydration. Dehydration is a serious problem for older people that can have many negative effects.

These include putting them at risk of dizziness, fainting spells, and more. As you probably know, falls in the elderly can be quite catastrophic, so it’s best to avoid anything that could cause elderly loved ones to collapse.

Beyond that, dehydration can cause people to become constipated, confused, or even develop skin conditions.

This all sounds morbid but it doesn’t have to be. Dehydration can often be caused by health conditions like vomiting and diarrhea. However, not consuming enough fluids is the most common cause of dehydration (especially among older people).

It is important for everyone to make sure that they drink adequate amounts of hydrating liquids to stay healthy.

We have a few tips to help you out here –

  • Drink at least 64 fluid ounces of caffeine-free liquids daily. The typical advice is to increase this on “very hot days” – which is every day here in Arizona!  So be sure to drink as much as you can.
  • Maintain adequate fluid balance. To do this, be mindful of fluid consumption and fluid output. For instance, if you notice sweating or urinating a lot, go ahead and increase fluid intake to make up for the loss.
  • Ever heard of electrolyte water? It is water that has been infused with minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, or calcium. Seniors are more susceptible to electrolyte imbalance, so such drinks can be highly beneficial to them.
  • While water is always the best drink to stay hydrated, alternatives will help too.  Fruit-infused water or flavored water are good options, as are sports drinks.
  • At times, feel free to go for something flavorful, sometimes sweet, other times savory. For instance, milkshakes and smoothies are a great sweet but hydrating treat.  Chicken, vegetable, or beef broth can be a tasty and savory drink (they’re also packed with electrolytes, so they’re great for if you’ve been sweating out too much salt).
  • They say you eat with your eyes first – it turns out the same goes for drinking! Use a pretty glass cup, a teacup with great designs, or even some high-end restaurant-style ‘plating’ with a piece of fruit on the rim.
  • But as much as you want it to look good, don’t forget about functionality. With the elderly, ‘ergonomically correct’ is always better.  A double-handled cup, an inbuilt straw, a no-spill lid, or other features can help.
  • Eating hydrating foods such as raw fruits and vegetables is a great way to get water levels up along with their other health benefits. A few examples of foods with high water content include cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, bell peppers, oranges, grapes, etc.

Celestial Care is dedicated to providing exceptional private senior care in Phoenix, AZ.  We take great care to make sure our clients stay hydrated and healthy year-round, and wanted to share some tips on the best ways for older people to hydrate during the hot summer months.

If you have questions about in-home nursing services or any questions about keeping the seniors in your life happy and healthy, feel free to reach out to us.

You can reach us here or call 602.375.8880.