During the hot summer months, we at Regency Park always remind our residents of the importance of staying hydrated. Staying hydrated is important for everyone, but it is even more vital for seniors. The average adult is made up of approximately 60% water with the brain and the heart each being made up of over 70% water. As people age, their body composition changes leaving them with less water. This decrease in water in turn can cause an increased risk of dehydration.
Seniors also become more prone to dehydration because of their inability to easily adjust to fluctuating temperatures, which becomes more problematic in summer months. Older adults also have a decreased sensation of being thirsty. By the time they do feel thirsty or have the desire to drink, they may already be dehydrated. According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, adults over the age of 65 have the highest hospital admissions rates for dehydration.
Our bodies need water for everything from pumping blood to our muscles, carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells, to regulating our body temperature, aiding in digestion, and lubricating joints. Dehydration, which can cause weakness and dizziness, can also provoke falls in older adults. For seniors dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia, even slight dehydration can cause a noticeable increase in confusion and decrease in thinking skills.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults of all ages consume 48–64 ounces of liquid every day. This total includes fruit and vegetable juices, soups, and milk. While sodas, coffee, and tea do count as fluids, health professionals don’t recommend them because of the caffeine in them, which can have a diuretic effect. At Regency Park Senior Living we ensure that our residents stay hydrated by offering multiple hydration stations throughout our community. All of our dining rooms offer a choice of fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in water content, as well as vitamin-enhanced flavored waters that provide our residents with a delicious and nutritious alternative to high sugar juices.
Following these simple tips can help prevent dehydration:
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink
- Drink water before and after exercise
- During the summer months, wear light breathable fabrics to reduce perspiration
- Avoid being in the sun during peak hours
- Make sure to have something to drink with every meal
Here’s to a happy, healthy and hydrated life.