Importance of Hydration | Blog
Now that summer is in full swing and the weather has brought many hot, humid days, it’s important to remember the importance of staying hydrated no matter your age.
While this is not quite the summer we all had imagined, and things are different, we still can be outside and enjoy the short couple of months we call summer here in Minnesota. At English Rose Suites, our Residents have been enjoying the beautiful patios and backyards that make our houses truly home. Each backyard has an outdoor deck or patio with an accessible dining table and chairs for the Residents to enjoy dining outside. It has been essential to provide the Residents an opportunity to get fresh air and take in the immaculate, exquisite gardens around the homes.
Keeping hydrated is vital in maintaining a healthy lifestyle at all ages, but even more important in later years. As the body ages, older adults must account for those changes that make them more susceptible to fluid and electrolyte imbalances.
According to AgingCare.com, with age, the body’s ability to conserve water isn’t what it used to be. The sense of thirst diminishes with age as well as cognitive status. Often, by the time someone actually feels thirsty, their essential fluids could already be very low. In addition to just healthy aging, other medical conditions and medications can affect a senior’s ability to maintain proper hydration.
Water is necessary for nearly every bodily function, from regulating body temperature to pumping blood to your muscles.
There are numerous benefits of water and proper hydration, but here are a few other key benefits:
- Aids in digestion and helps the body absorb nutrients
- Helps resident’s medications function better
- Combats fatigue and drowsiness keeping residents focused and more alert
- Flushes out unwanted bacteria in the bladder and kidneys
- Aids in heart health – the more hydrated, the less the heart has to work
There are many opinions on how much water one should drink each day. According to the Mayo Clinic, they recommend eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day as the average but can be adjusted to fit individual needs. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume roughly 3.0 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.
Residents at English Rose Suites have water with each meal in addition to offering coffee, milk, and juice when appropriate. We are very creative in making water accessible and appealing to our Residents.
We have changed the types of water bottles and cups the Residents use during the day for water through the years. We are always looking for the best and most practical approach for our Residents.
“Instead of water bottles, we use plastic mason jar cups with a hand that has a screw-on lid with a straw. This makes it so much easier for the Residents to hold the cup and then be able to drink more water throughout the day,” said Katie Rinehimer, Quality of Life Director.
Our Residents are encouraged to drink a glass of water right when they get up in the morning, which helps them to wake up better and sets a good tone for hydration for the rest of the day. In addition to drinking water throughout the day they are encouraged to drink a glass with medications, as well as after exercising or being outside.
Variety is important with everything. We know that water can sometimes be boring and frankly unappealing at times, but it doesn’t have to be.
Flavoring water is a wonderful way to change things up. There are so many ways to naturally add flavor to water that are so helpful in supporting each Resident’s hydration goals,” added Rinehimer.
To change things up and take advantage of fresh summer produce, we will sometimes add fresh herbs and fresh fruit to water to create natural flavored water.
Citrus fruits and berries are perfect for flavoring water. Cucumbers are great too! Mint, basil, and rosemary also add a wonderful flavor to water. Though don’t limit yourself, it could be fun to come up with your favorite combination of herbs and fruits.
Keeping hydrated doesn’t have to mean ice water. Drinking a hot cup of water with lemon is an excellent alternative to coffee or tea in the morning.
Water isn’t the only option, either. If your loved one struggles to drink plain water, there are other options and modifications out there. Many other fluids and foods can count towards your daily hydration goal. In the summer, fruit smoothies or homemade popsicles are great. In the winter, consider savory warm chicken, beef, or vegetable broth, which provides excellent hydration and electrolytes that seem more like a meal than a drink.
Foods are Hydrating Too
Fresh fruits and veggies are also a great option. Cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and celery are all vegetables with over 90% water content. Watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, and oranges also have over 90% water content.
Daily water intake and staying hydrated is so important. What are some ways you keep hydrated throughout the day? Let us know in the comments.