During hot seasons, staying hydrated is very important for people of all ages, but especially for older adults. Seniors may become dehydrated from medications which cause sweating or have diuretic effects, decreased thirst, challenges with retrieving beverages, decreased kidney function, and/or illnesses that cause vomiting or diarrhea, according to the Mayo Clinic. Also, older adults often don’t feel thirsty until they are already dehydrated. With hot weather safety in mind, here are some tips on how to stay hydrated.
Six Tips to Remain Hydrated this Summer
- Drink lots of water. How much water a person should drink varies, but in general the Institute of Medicine determined that 13 cups or 3 liters of total beverage intake per day is an adequate amount for men. For women, 9 cups or 2.2 liters is an adequate amount of total beverages per day. Those who don’t love drinking water all the time will be happy to know that all fluids count toward the daily total – not just water. An added bonus to increased water consumption: Those looking to improve their dietary health can turn to water to aid in their efforts. The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics published a study in 2016 that found participants who consumed the most plain water throughout their daily diet took in fewer total calories, fat, sugar, salt, and cholesterol.
- Eat your water. You can get hydrated through food sources, as well as fluids. A few foods that are at least 90 percent water by weight include cucumber, iceburg lettuce, celery, tomatoes, green peppers, and watermelon, as recommended by health.com.
- Monitor your hydration. Determine if you’re properly hydrated by looking at the color of your urine. Per familydoctor.org, a colorless or lighter urine color tends to indicate better hydration. Darker yellow urine could indicate dehydration.
- Know about foods and drinks that can dehydrate you. Examples of dehydrating food and drinks include alcohol – especially wine, coffee, soda, energy drinks, cured meats, soy sauce, popcorn, fried foods, and high protein meals, according to The Daily Meal and Rodale’s Organic Life. Asparagus and parsley in great amounts can also lead to dehydration.
- Know the additional factors affecting your hydration. The Mayo Clinic reminds that exercise, hot and humid weather conditions, illnesses, and health conditions all can affect a person’s hydration levels.
- Set Yourself up for success. Make realistic goals for yourself for achieving better hydration. Work on increasing hydration day by day. Have a few water bottles readily available that you can keep with you throughout each day. Also, try out different fruit types in your water to jazz up the flavor. Strawberries, lemon, melon, and grapes can make water more fun to drink!
Did you know?
For an element of fun: Turn to peers for support in your hydration endeavors. If multiple people work on their hydration efforts together, not only are reminders sure to be made, but the health effects can be shared and the support can be celebrated. Hydration Club, here we come!