Dana Larsen over at The Senior Living Blog gave us some great tips about preventing dehydration in older adults. Her post titled “4 Ways to Prevent Elderly Dehydration” included some great tips on staying hydrated, and provided a few yummy recipes for what she calls “Summer Mocktails”.
Senior dehydration is a common health issue that can lead to bigger problems if proper hydration is not made a priority, such as urinary tract infections and low blood pressure. – Dana Larsen/Senior Living Blog
What causes dehydration in older adults?
Here are some of the reasons Dana believes dehydration is so prevalent among older adults:
- The ability to notice changes in body temperature typically decreases with age.
- As people get older, body water content decreases.
- Many medications the elderly take make them more susceptible to dehydration.
- The elderly often experience diminished thirst; which leads to a reduced fluid consumption.
- With aging, the kidneys have a reduced ability to concentrate urine and retain water during water deprivation.
- Specific conditions, such as reduced swallowing capacity, decreased mobility, comprehension and communication disorders, as well as, decreased mobility and/or incontinence can contribute to dehydration.
- Many seniors have underlying health conditions that make them less able to adapt to heat.
Hydration and your Health
The Hydration for Health Initiative (H4H) is a think tank of professionals that believe in raising public awareness of healthy hydration. H4H believes there are many health benefits to staying hydrated, and ensuring that we receive optimal amounts of fluids daily. Some of those benefits include:
- Proper hydration may have a positive impact on cognitive functions and mood. “Several studies, performed in healthy persons, looked at the effects of induced dehydration on cognitive performance and motor function: fatigue, mood, choice reaction time, short- and long-term memory, attention, arithmetics… It appears that a 2% dehydration is sufficient to impair functions and performances.”
- Proper hydration can prevent the recurrence of kidney stones. “The role of increased fluid intake as a means of preventing recurrence of kidney stones is well recognized today. In fact, it has been used since the time of Hippocrates.”
- Proper hydration can contribute to maintaining a healthy body weight. “There is increasing evidence that the types of the fluids we drink can have a long-term impact on health, influencing the development of overweight, obesity or metabolic diseases.” H4H advocates maintain that the best method for preventing dehydration in older adults is to drink water (as opposed to surgery/flavored drinks).
Wondering what a “summer mocktail” is? Well, Dana Larsen says these are yummy beverages that we can all make that are devoid of caffeine or alcohol. Visit her post for some awesome summer recipes!