Inadequate hydration and not getting enough water is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in the senior population hence why staying hydrated is so important. There are even a number of hydration-related medication conditions in the geriatric population that are associated with either over-hydration or dehydration.
Dehydration occurs when there is excess fluid loss from the body, either due to illness, exposure to high temperatures, the use of diuretic medications. There are a number of symptoms associated with dehydration ranging from dizziness to confusion to seizures and death. For some individuals, the loss of as little as two to three percent of body fluid can lead to physical and cognitive impairment.
Some of the consequences of dehydration that many may be unaware of include low blood pressure, fainting, increased heart rate, excessive sleepiness, seizures, and even death.
It should be noted that the elderly population is at an increased risk of dehydration for a number of reasons such as a decrease in thirst sensation, altered sensitivity to antidiuretic hormones and neurocognitive deficits. According to the Mayo Clinic, older adults are also at a disadvantage because their ability to conserve water is reduced. All of these problems are compounded by illnesses like dementia and diabetes. The average age for patients with a principal diagnosis of dehydration was over 80 years old.
Along with dehydration, overhydration can be a major health problem. In fact, overhydration can lead to a number of issues including seizures, confusion, and death. Seniors who are dealing with overhydration can also have problems such as shortness of breath and high blood pressure.
Benefits of Drinking Water
One analysis found that lower plain water intake was associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety and when drinking more water, the opposite was true.
Moreover, there is a lot of evidence that points to fluid deprivation having major negative impacts on several mood areas. Similarly, daily water intake increase led to a significant mood improvement in people with low fluid intake. In one study published in the Public Library of Science, found that people who drank more water reported less fatigue, less confusion, less thirst, and less sleepiness. On the other hand, people who drank less water experienced detrimental effects on mood, this included reduced feelings of calmness, satisfaction, and positive emotions which led to problems like depression, anxiety, and more.
Along with mood changes and behavioral impacts, drinking more water can lead to improved physical health functioning. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, water helps the body with many functions including keeping the body temperature normal, lubricating and cushioning joints, protecting the spinal cord, and getting rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
Overall, drinking water is vastly important to make sure the body is functioning correctly on a physical and mental level. While the benefits of drinking water may be obvious, some may not know how much to drink.
Your daily water intake will generally depend on a number of factors including age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding status. Similarly, your body needs more water when you are in hot temperatures, are more active, or have a fever. In general, according to the Mayo Clinic, adequate daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women. A goal that you should probably set for yourself is to drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day.
Overall though, water intake is something that needs to be taken and should be prioritized for everyone of all ages. Your fluid intake is probably adequate if you don’t often feel thirsty.
It should be noted that it is possible to drink too much water, which as we have discussed, can lead to problems on their own. While this doesn’t happen often, it occurs when the kidneys cannot excrete the excess water, the sodium content of your blood is diluted, unfortunately, these problems can be life-threatening.
Tips To Increase Water Consumption
For some, it can be hard to remember to get your daily water intake, this is especially true for some senior citizens. However, because of the many benefits that water offers, this is not a good excuse. There are many easy ways to get yourself to start drinking more water. Some of these tips include:
- Carry a water bottle when you go out
- Choose water over sugar-sweetened drinks. Not only will you get the benefits of drinking water, but you will also get additional benefits associated with weight management
- Adding flavorings such as a wedge or lime or lemon can help to improve the taste and lead you to drink more water than you normally do
Plastic Water Bottles
It should be noted that plastic water bottles can lead to many problems for the environment. However, by using a refillable and reusable water bottle you can not only help keep your body healthy but the planet health as well. Using a refillable water bottle will help you decrease greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, filling, packaging, and transport of disposable water bottles.
Drinking plenty of water is obviously important for making sure our bodies function correctly. Getting the proper amount of water without getting overhydrated leads to a number of positive health benefits when it comes to our mental and physical health. Unfortunately for older adults, this becomes harder as we age. Not only does our body retain water less effectively, but it can also lead to a decrease in thirst sensation. Overall, staying hydrated is vastly important for our health.
Unfortunately, as we age, day-to-day tasks can become more and more difficult to perform on our own, some things, even drinking water, can become hard to do without the help of others. Luckily, there are caregivers and organizations like Landmark Senior Living available to help you or your loved one overcome the obstacles that they may be facing. Landmark offers residents access to the quality care that they deserve while also providing them with social stimulation that everyone craves. If you are interested in learning more about independent living facilities in Fall River, please visit our website today.