5 Reasons Older People Need to Stay Hydrated This Summer

Glass of Water

5 Reasons Seniors Should Stay Hydrated This Summer

“Feeling thirsty” is a sensation many older people may no longer have–or at least to the degree they once had. Especially during the hot months of summer, dehydration can occur without enough fluid intake. That’s why it’s so important to drink plenty of liquids each day. Each day our bodies lose fluid through skin evaporation, urine and stool losses, and even through breathing. Family caregivers, keep a regular watch over your loved ones’ fluid intake, making sure they are getting enough fluids daily. By making sure seniors keep hydrated, their chances of being admitted into a hospital for dehydration will significantly decrease.

Water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated–fluids are found in juice, milk, coffee, and foods high in water content, such as fruits, soups, beans, and vegetables.

Why should seniors stay hydrated?

  • To keep body fluids balanced. Since the human body is 60% water, it needs fluid to help it maintain body temperature, digestion, nutrient transport, circulation, and saliva creation.
  • To help with weight loss. Water’s long been a dieter’s friend. It doesn’t in itself help people to lose weight, but choosing water over a high-calorie soda cuts back calories. Additionally, eating foods rich in water helps you feel full, as does drinking water.
  • To help your muscles. Muscle fatigue can result when cells in our body aren’t balancing fluids, causing the electrolytes to shrink. When exercising, it’s especially important to get enough fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • To help your skin’s appearance. Without proper hydration, your skin can look and feel more dry.
  • To help your kidneys and bowels function. Your kidneys need fluids to transport waste through cells. They rid the body of toxins with proper fluid intake. Signs you’re getting enough fluids: your urine’s color is light and is odorless. If you’re not properly hydrated, you may feel constipated, as fluid in the colon helps move waste in the gastrointestinal tract.

Symptoms of dehydration

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Heart palpitations
  • Confusion
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Weakness
  • Decrease in urine; a deep yellow indicates dehydration
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Not sweating

Go to the hospital emergency room if you or your older loved one experiences a fever higher than 103°F, confusion, headaches, trouble breathing, chest/abdominal pains, sluggishness, fainting, or not having urinated in 12 hours.