Hydrating for AZ Seniors: Why It’s Important for Your Health

Posted on 07/26/2021

It’s a well-known fact that water is essential for keeping your body running, but retirement age adults, especially those that live in warmer climates, need to be more careful than others when it comes to hydration. Making sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day is essential to keeping seniors hydrated, happy, and healthy. Are you drinking enough water to combat the dry Arizona heat?

Keep reading to learn all about the health benefits for seniors and tips for keeping hydrated during the hot Arizona summers.

Benefits of Hydration for Seniors

Health experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of water a day. For example, if someone weighs 120 pounds, they should drink 60 ounces of water each day. While drinking a glass of water with each meal is a good start, it’s often not enough to keep seniors hydrated and healthy.

There are plenty of reasons that you'll want to fill up your water bottle several times per day. Here are a few of the top ones.

  • Staying Alert and Energetic: If you're feeling particularly tired or sluggish, a lack of water might be the culprit. When you drink enough water, you give your brain and body the resources that they need to function. Research suggests that dehydration may impair your brain function, even if the dehydration is mild. This means that getting enough water will keep you feeling sharp and spry throughout your day.
  • Preventing or Relieving Constipation: Do you struggle with constipation? This condition is normal amongst people of all ages, but older adults may experience it more often than younger ones. While a good diet is the key to preventing constipation, getting enough water is another great preventative choice. When you drink water, especially water that's fortified with minerals like magnesium, you're improving your digestive system so you can end your painful constipation.
  • Preventing Headaches: A headache can ruin a day. Anyone who has frequent headaches knows that even light can cause pain when you're in the midst of them. One of the top reasons that people experience headaches (who don't have a headache-related condition) is that they aren't drinking enough water. Even if you currently have a headache, drinking water can help relieve some of the pressure.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight: As you get older, it becomes more important to maintain a healthy weight. While you may not be interested in a toned physique, avoiding obesity will protect your overall health. With that in mind, you should up your water intake if you want to keep your weight in check.
  • Healing Kidney Stones: Kidney stones are painful clumps of minerals in your kidneys. These clumps can cause pain and blockage. Passing these stones is difficult and it sometimes requires medical intervention. Drinking water may be the key to breaking these stones apart and diluting the minerals responsible for the clumps.

What Happens If Seniors are Dehydrated?

Dehydration is dangerous for everyone, but more so for seniors and small children. Dehydration in older adults can cause serious problems. Seniors who take medications may be at a greater risk for dehydration due to side effects, and you may start losing the ability to notice thirst before it becomes problematic. Dehydration can impair your cognitive function, leave you feeling fatigued, and even cause problems with your kidneys or urinary tract.

Symptoms of Dehydration In Seniors

Do you know how to identify symptoms of dehydration in yourself and others? While some are more obvious, others are not.

Often the first sign is to feel thirsty. Some research suggests that by the time you notice thirst, you may already be dehydrated. As your dehydration progresses, you may notice that you feel dizzy, disoriented, or lightheaded. This could lead to fainting, so if you notice this, be sure to take a seat and drink some water right away.

Mild physical symptoms such as nausea and headaches are common if you're dehydrated, and you may notice that you aren't using the bathroom as much as you usually would. Dehydration can also cause more serious symptoms such as a rapid heart rate or a sudden drop in blood pressure. Both of these things can also lead to fainting.

Pay attention to what your body is telling you and don’t dismiss the mildest symptoms. Becoming dehydrated is easy in the warm Arizona summer.

Tips and Tricks for Staying Hydrated

While staying hydrated as a senior is important for your health, it can often be neglected for other, seemingly more important tasks. That said, there are several things that you can do to make sure you're staying on top of your hydration needs.

First, make sure that you always have water nearby. Keep a filled, reusable water bottle with you when you leave your home. This will help you have water on hand at all times, especially if you stay out longer than expected. Plus, having water nearby means it’s easier to find a drink if you start to feel thirsty. However, don’t keep water bottles in your car. In the Arizona summer, the water will become hot and unbearable to drink.

If you don't like drinking water, consider adding frozen fruit or flavorings to your water. There are many calorie-free or low-calorie water flavoring options that can help. You could also try drinking flavored sparkling water. Some popular options are lemons, cucumber, mint, raspberries, and strawberries.

Set reminders on your phone to drink water. Just like with taking pills, reminders can keep you from forgetting to drink water. Remember, you’re probably not getting enough water with everything you eat and drink throughout the day.

Also, publish a reminder in your kitchen. This infographic can be taped in front of your fridge or the cabinet with glasses as a good reminder of why you want to stay hydrated. You'll also have a chance to win a $500 gift card when you download the infographic before 8/26/2021.

If you're feeling very dehydrated, even after drinking water, talk to your doctor. You may want to try drinking electrolyte solutions, such as Pedialyte. While popular sports drinks are good for electrolytes, they have unnecessary sugars and they aren't as effective as Pedialyte.

Are You Staying Hydrated?

Hydration for seniors is crucial to maintaining mental and physical health. If you want to keep yourself happy, healthy, and energetic, getting enough water every day is a key component.

The consequences of dehydration can be dangerous, and it’s not a risk you should want to take. Keep water nearby at all times and if you feel faint, try to find a shady spot to sit nearby and alert someone.

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