The Importance of Hydration
by Ginger McMurchie, ECMNCA Owner & Care Manager
It is that time of year again when temperatures soar, air conditioners cycle on, and many of us hunker down indoors. We exercise early, get our errands and shopping done when it is cool and go from car to air-conditioned building. When we are young our bodies naturally carry more fluid but as we age our fluid levels diminish. Older adults naturally have less water in their bodies and typically consume less fluids leading to the perfect storm of dehydration. Why does this happen and what can we do to prevent it?
Seniors may not experience thirst the same way as a younger person and symptoms of dehydration can go undetected. The dry mouth, dizziness, and fatigue may be overlooked and the muscle cramps can be attributed to a bad nights sleep. Drinking more fluids can feel like more of a problem as it causes increased urination which can be an issue for those with incontinence problems.
So how can we circumvent the problem? Be creative!
Remember that there are a number of ways to get fluid in our systems. We gain fluids from many sources including that morning cup of coffee. Elders need to be cognizant that some drinks act as diuretics, such as tea and coffee, and should be consumed in moderation. But aside from having the jug of water in front of you all day long- how can we hydrate? Think vegetables! Amazingly enough, cauliflower is 92% fluid! Combine that with celery, zucchini or iceberg lettuce and you have a solution- add some watermelon for dessert and you have added to your daily fluid allotment.
So remember- get chores and exercise done early. Hydrate throughout the day, add fruits and vegetables to the daily diet and stay where it is cool. While we are at it- remember that your pets need the same tender loving care we give ourselves, walk them early or late in the evening and keep them indoors on these warm summer days.