This Sneaky Health Problem is a Leading Cause of Hospitalization

April 21st, 2021

How to avoid dehydration all year round

While blue skies and sunny days are a welcome change from the cold and gray of winter, the summer heat can pose a number of health risks, especially for seniors. You’re probably used to slathering on sunscreen and donning a sunhat to prevent sunburn. But there’s something else you need to think about as the temperature in the thermometer rises: hydration.

Dehydration can lead to all manner of health problems, including things like low blood pressure and urinary tract infections. Its effects are scary, too. Dehydration can cause confusion and can impair cognition. It can also cause emergency hospitalization, and is a frequent cause of hospitalization for seniors.

Seniors are especially vulnerable to dehydration. In part, this is because our bodies’ water content decreases as we get older. Taking certain medications, hot weather, incontinence, generally feeling less thirst, and other underlying health issues can also cause dehydration. While these are all things to look out for in the summer, it’s important to get enough fluids all year round.

These things all make it much more important for seniors to pay attention to how much water they’re drinking! However, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you’re getting enough fluids. If you find yourself wanting to boost your water intake throughout the day, here are some things to try:

  • Drink an 8 oz. glass of water every time you take your medication. The average nursing home patient takes 7 medications, meaning this technique can keep you sipping water all day long.
  • Make sure beverages are readily available. Keep a reusable water bottle filled and ready to go so you remember to drink. If you get tired of water, chill some other beverages in the fridge.
  • Drink things you enjoy drinking. Some people can’t get enough water, while others get tired of the flavorless beverage. Luckily, some companies make water additives so your once-boring water will pack a flavorful punch.
  • Set reminders. An app or a plain old phone alarm with a reminder set to go off a few times a day can help you remember to stay hydrated.

If you’re on a restricted diet, your doctor may not want you drinking beverages with lots of sugar or sodium. However, this doesn’t mean you have to drink plain old water. Things like lemon or cucumber slices can make boring water taste crisp and refreshing. Additives like Mio or single-serve Crystal Light packets can give you the flavor of lemonade or a fruit drink without the calories, sodium, and sugar of juices or soda.

Do you have tips or habits you use to stay hydrated? Share them by joining us on Facebook!

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