Doctors have found that dehydration is one of the most common fluid and electrolyte disturbances among the elderly. Water is crucial to all bodily processes from carrying hormones, disease fighting cells, nutrients and antibodies throughout the body as well as flushing toxins and waste products from the body, ingesting enough is critical to good health. Individuals over age 65, however, find that their thirst diminishes and because of that they don't drink enough. Not drinking enough water can lead to diseases and disorders including kidney stones, hypertension, circulation disorders and common indigestion problems and, as a caregiver, you can see how important it is that your aging relatives are getting enough water in their diets.
If you or your parents live in an arid part of the country or are living in a warmer climate, drinking water helps address the fluids that may be lost due to sweating. Dehydration can lead to lightheadedness and that could precipitate a trip or fall accident.
Here are five reasons why caregivers need to make certain their aging relatives are getting enough water:
Drinking water can help control caloric intake and may lead to either weight loss or maintaining current weight levels. Dieters know that drinking water takes the edge off of hunger and makes them eat less.
Because your body is made up of 60% water, its functions are enhanced by drinking enough water. Water also helps keep your skin firm and looking better. If you're dehydrated your skin looks dry and more wrinkled.
Your muscles get fatigued if there is a lack of water in your body. If there is not enough fluid and the electrolytes are out of line, muscles suffer as a result.
Your kidneys need adequate water to perform their function of transporting waste out of your cells. Blood urea nitrogen is a toxin within the body and this is a water soluble toxin that can be flushed out of your body by drinking water. You can tell if you're not drinking enough water by the color of your urine if it is light colored you are drinking enough, if is dark and/or has an odor you need to increase your water intake.
As we age and sometimes move around less, we tend to eat a diet that may not be as high in fiber as it once was and this, coupled with a lack of water can lead to constipation. Staying hydrated can address this.
How can you get enough water in your diet?
If you don't see yourself, or see your aging relatives drinking water throughout the day, here are tips to get more water in their diet without having to necessarily always rely on a glass of water:
Eat fruits and vegetables that are high in water content. Watermelon is one of those fruits. Eating fruits and vegetables will also lead to a better overall diet and health profile.
Make certain you drink a glass of water with every meal. Avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks as they are dehydrating. Drink water or low sugar juices.
If you keep a glass of water or a water bottle close at hand then you will always have a readily available source of water to keep yourself hydrated.