Dehydration is a common ailment among aging parents and other older adults and the complications can be severe. Often dehydration in seniors can be attributed to swallowing difficulties, mobility and incontinence issues, or a simple lack of thirst that can contribute to an inability to maintain proper hydration.
Causes and symptoms of dehydration
We’ve all been told how important those daily eight glasses of water are for our health. As we age, they don’t become any less important, but staying hydrated may become more difficult. Seniors often lose the signaling mechanism that tells them that they are thirsty and as a result may suffer dehydration before they know it.
- Cramps in the arms and legs
- Dry Skin
In addition, seniors may be at greater risk of dehydration due to the following:
- Poor kidney function
- Lack of feeling thirsty
- Lack of mobility
Ways to stay hydrated this winter
In the warmer months, seniors may be more inclined to drink a cold beverage just for refreshment, but once the weather starts turning chilly it can be easy to forget to keep up this good habit. Those of the younger generations maybe accustomed to carrying their water bottles as standard accessories to their outfits, but those who grew up thinking that it would be ridiculous to pay for water when you can get it out of the tap for free may find themselves just forgoing it for reasons of convenience and lack of mobility. Fortunately, there are other ways to keep hydrated besides just drinking a glass of water. You can help your loved one as well as yourself to stay healthy and well hydrated year round. Here are just a few alternatives:
- Herbal tea. Herbal teas may provide health benefits, but they can also count towards your daily water intake. Just make sure your tea is without caffeine, which would just contribute to dehydration.
- Soup. Soups have high water content and can be very nourishing. Here’s a recipe for bone broth soup that can be made in large batches and enjoyed throughout the week. Bone broth is known for providing great health benefits, such as improved digestion, improved brain function, and better joint health.
- Coconut water. Coconut water is high in the important electrolytes our bodies need. The mineral content highly resembles that of our own blood and hence is excellent for keeping hydrated, as well as providing many other health benefits.
- Fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables are almost entirely made up of water and can contribute to your daily water intake. Blending them to make a delicious smoothie can also make it easier on the digestion.
Lastly, remember that the eight glasses a day is not a hard and fast rule. This amount may need to be adjusted depending on age, kidney function, medications and other factors. It might be a good idea to talk to your doctor about how much water is appropriate for you or your loved one.