It’s summer – a great time to be outside and enjoy lovely warm weather. It’s important to remember, though, that aging changes the way our bodies handle high temperatures and can make it harder to tell when you’ve had too much of the heat! Feeling thirsty often means that you’re actually already dehydrated, and dehydration can be dangerous. It is one of the leading causes of hospitalization in adults over 65 and can lead to serious health complications.
A hot summer, like this one has been so far, is especially risky, so beat the summer heat and stay hydrated by following some of these suggestions:
- Always have water (or another healthy fluid) in sight and within reach. Keep a glass of water nearby and form a habit of sipping as part of an activity – every two pages if you’re reading a book, for example.
- Eat healthy foods that help with hydration – soups, watermelon, apples, oranges, cucumbers, and lettuce are good examples.
- If you have a sweet tooth, popsicles can be a fun way to help with hydration.
- Make water more appealing by adding fruits like lemons or limes, or even berries or herbs like mint or rosemary.
- Don’t fixate on old advice. Eight 8-ounce glasses of water may be too much for many seniors. If you have health conditions, it’s best to talk to your doctor for recommendations on water intake, and otherwise four to six cups will probably be plenty, according to research by Harvard Medical School.
- Drink extra water with medications. Don’t just sip enough to swallow the meds – try to drink the glass and then fill it up again!
It’s important to keep an eye out for the signs of dehydration – confusion, a dry mouth, fatigue, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness. If these are present, seek treatment.
We hope that these tips will help you to have a healthy and happy summer, whatever the weather brings!
Samuels, C. 20 Easy Recipes for Senior Nutrition. A Place for Mom. August 14, 2020.
Seladi-Schulman, J. The Causes and Symptoms of Dehydration in Older Adults. Healthline.com. April 23, 2020.
How Much Water Should you Drink? Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. March 25, 2020.
6 Ideas to Get Seniors to Drink More Water. DailyCaring.com.