The wise man who observed, “Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine”, knew what he was talking about all those years ago. Modern science has confirmed that a simple way to help safeguard your health is to drink plenty of water.
Though important advice to follow year-round, it’s particularly so during the hot, humid days of summer. This is when seniors are at the greatest risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Hume Retirement Resort staff always make cool, fresh water available throughout the Club House and remind our residents to drink and rehydrate when engaging in outdoor or physical activity.
Understanding why you get thirsty and the importance of hydration:
- People lose about 10 cups of fluids a day through exhaled air, perspiration and other bodily fluids.
- The body is likely to dehydrate during travel, especially on airplanes.
- Water helps the body keep a normal temperature, and lubricates and cushions joints.
- Even a 1.5 percent water loss can result in decreased cognitive function, headaches and fatigue.
- The sensation of thirst decreases with age, so thirst can set in without a senior realising it.
- Older persons have less water in their bodies and, therefore, need to drink plenty of water.
Take the following steps to remain well hydrated:
- Try these dehydration-defying fruits and vegetables: watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, grapefruit, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and mixed salad greens.
- Drink water, fruit juices, sports drinks, milk, tea, coffee and broth. Avoid high-protein and alcoholic drinks, which can lead to dehydration.
- Sip water-based liquids through the day to help the body meet its need for ongoing hydration.
- Try this guideline for daily water intake: drink 35 mls of water per Kilos of your body weight daily.
- Drink water even before exercising or going out into the sun to maintain hydration.
- Drink a whole glass of water when taking a pill as part of meeting hydration needs.
- Be sure that persons with dementia take in enough water, as they might forget to drink.
In addition to drinking plenty of hydrating fluids, seniors should dress lightly; wear hats, sunglasses and sunscreen; limit exposure to direct sun; and use air conditioners or electric fans.