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The Heat Is On … Hydrate for Good Health

We are beginning a series of articles on the benefits of living in a senior care community.  As the “Texas heat wave” we typically experience with triple-digit temperatures begins this month, we are starting with the importance and benefits of staying hydrated.

Hydration is vital for everyone, especially the elderly. In Assisted Livings, we recognize how essential it is to keep our residents hydrated, as dehydration can have serious health consequences. Dehydration can cause cognitive sluggishness and fatigue, lead to weight loss, constipation, diarrhea, and in extreme cases, death.

However, getting residents to consume enough liquids — roughly 3.7 liters a day for a man over 70 and 2.7 liters for a woman over 70, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — is easier said than done.  If not encouraged to drink water, the residents often will only consume water when taking their medications or at mealtimes.

Finding an Assisted Living that focuses on monitoring and encouraging hydration throughout the day is extremely important since residents like to sit outside in the sunshine to enjoy birds and nature and take walks around the facility for exercise.

Benefits of maintaining hydration

Drinking water just to check the “enough box” can seem like a chore. But, when you recognize the many reasons hydrating is beneficial, it can be motivating. Drinking sufficient water:

  • Increases energy
  • Keeps your muscles and joints lubricated
  • Prevents overeating
  • Impacts brain power
  • Improves the quality of your skin

Drink water first

It’s important to drink water every day. A good goal is six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. However, this goal will change depending on how active you are and other factors that may contribute to dehydration.

Eat water-rich fruits and vegetables

While water is the best way to hydrate your body, it’s not the only option. There are other ways you can rehydrate. In addition to drinking water and other hydrating beverages, 20 percent of most people’s total water intake comes from water-rich foods. These foods not only have a high-water content but are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Water-rich fruits include:

  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches
  • Pineapples

Water-rich vegetables include:

  • Cucumbers
  • Leafy greens
  • Radishes
  • Celery
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes

Cheers to hydration!

If you only drink when you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. Having people who look out for your loved ones at an Assisted Living to ensure they are staying hydrated is more than basic. The bottom line is proper hydration contributes to good health, and good health leads to a better quality of life.