When it comes to health, hydration is key—no matter your age. But, there may be a few challenges seniors have that others don’t. While a medical professional is the best reference for how much water anyone should consume, there are a lot of ways to up your daily intake with just a few small changes.
1. Be in the Know
The first step to drinking more water is knowing all of the “whys” behind it. Understanding these benefits of hydration, as well as the potential dangers of dehydration, can make a big difference in changing daily habits. We’ll dive into the “hows” shortly, but first, check out a few surprising facts that may get you thirsty for more.
According to a 2017 study, a majority of seniors weren’t aware that dehydration can cause confusion, seizures and even life-threatening situations.
Eight glasses a day might not be right for everyone. A Harvard Health Letter article suggests that 4-6 glasses might suffice, however, diet and activity play a big role in determining the appropriate amount for each individual.
Not only are seniors at a greater risk for dehydration, it’s a common cause of hospitalization and other health complications. All the more reason to drink up!
2. Get Creative
Water can live in lots of different forms. So, if sipping straight out of a glass isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of ways to get your daily dose of H20.
- Switch out your usual coffee or caffeine drink with herbal tea or hot water with lemon
- Grab a slow-cooker and simmer up some warm soup on a cold day.
- Have popsicles on hand for hot days
- Start your morning with a fruit smoothie
- Get your daily fill of fruits and vegetables (Melon, cucumber, and lettuce are over 90 percent water.)
- Mix it up by adding some flavor to your water with lemon or other fruits
3. Make It Effortless
Trying to drink more water is great, but if it’s a cumbersome task or something easily forgotten, then it’s probably not going to happen. The good news? There are tools out there to make hydration a bit easier. Check out a few of these affordable products that make all-day-long sipping as simple as possible for seniors.
Popsicle molds for delicious and water-full summer snacking.
A little gadget for your water bottle that reminds you to drink.
A container with a straw for effortless sips without lifting a bulky bottle.
A collapsible cup for on-the-go drinking.
4. Drink Differently
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Making a drinking schedule is easy when you can pair it with other things you do every day.
- Take a sip before every meal
- Enjoy a glass of water after every bathroom break
- Leave a bottle on the bedside table to drink every morning
- Finish a full serving of water throughout a TV show
- Take note of how hydration is helping. Whether it is a before/after picture, or a hydration journal, keeping track of how you’re feeling can serve as proof of the perks of drinking more water.
5. Slow and Steady
Don’t try to drastically change habits in one day. Our ability to maintain a habit of hydration may do best when water is gradually introduced more and more into our daily lives. This can be especially important for seniors who may already have lifelong habits. A few small changes each day can not only make a big impact, but also help to create hydration habits that stick.
As always, consult with a medical professional before making changes to your (or a loved one’s) diet or liquid intake. Want to learn more about how senior living can help residents stay healthy and hydrated? Contact a Village of East Harbor team member today.