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Staying Healthy and Hydrated: Easy Tips for Seniors

woman handing an older adult a glass of waterAs we get older, our bodies change, and it can be harder to stay hydrated.

Older adults are at a higher risk of not drinking enough water. This can happen because as we age, our bodies start to retain less fluids. In addition, our kidneys may start to work less effectively and we may lose too much water through urination. Our thirst response also weakens as we get older, meaning that we may not even recognize that we are becoming dehydrated. And finally, some of the medications that we take may also act as diuretics, meaning that they lower the amount of water that our body naturally retains.

Some signs like dry skin, dry mouth, or dark urine are not always good indicators of being dehydrated, especially for seniors. In addition to those, you can consider other symptoms that may indicate dehydration, such as muscle cramps, cravings for sweet food, headaches, constipation, low blood pressure, and confusion or dizziness.

To ensure you are taking in more water, you can try the following:

Add juice to your water. This can help make your drink more appealing and help you finish more liquid.

Warm up your water. For some people, it’s easier to consume warm liquids, so heating your water can help you increase your water consumption.

Incorporate more liquids into your meals. Consider eating soup for one of your daily meals. And pick fruits and vegetables that contain higher percentages of water, such as cantaloupe, strawberries, cucumber, zucchini, and tomatoes.

Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, increasing your need to urinate. But if you just must have that cup (or more) of coffee or tea, consider adding a meal replacement drink to your cup instead of milk and sugar, which can help you get some much-needed nutrition as well.

Wear an incontinence pad or brief. There are many discreet products on the market to assist with incontinence. It can be embarrassing to think about having an ‘accident’ in our later years, and that can lead to us consuming less water. However, this can actually irritate the bladder and make it more likely for you to need to pee more often. And the less you drink, the more concentrated your urine becomes (darker colour), which can actually smell worse too. Wearing a pad or briefs made for adult incontinence can make you feel more secure with increasing your daily water consumption, and help keep your bladder happier too!

By paying attention to drinking enough water, you can stay healthier as you age. These simple tips can make a big difference in how you feel every day.