Seniors, Stay Hydrated!

Seniors - Stay Hydrated

We are happy to say summer is here at our shoreside senior community! As we enjoy these beautiful days in the hot summer sun, it’s crucial for seniors to stay hydrated. It’s amazing what drinking a little water can do for your overall health – and equally amazing how so many of us forget to do this. In this article, our senior caregivers in South Jersey will highlight four major reasons why it’s important for seniors to keep up with their water intake during the summer and all year round.

Dehydration

While this reason for staying hydrated seems incredibly obvious, we still need to address it. Being dehydrated can actually make you feel sick, and sometimes medical attention is needed to recover properly. Some symptoms you might experience while dehydrated are fatigue, dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, dry mouth, and confusion.

Kidney Function

As seniors age, their kidney function often declines.  A period of extended dehydration can cause severe damage to your kidneys. Our kidneys are responsible for filtering out toxins in your bloodstream, and if they aren’t working properly, toxins and electrolytes become unbalanced and build up. In severe cases, this imbalance can cause serious illness or death. Because seniors often lose the sensation of thirst, it’s important that they intentionally drink water throughout the day even, when they aren’t thirsty.

Digestion

Hydration is the key to digestive health, and if you aren’t staying hydrated it can lead to constipation, gastric reflux, and acid reflux. Drinking water produces an acid that helps your body break down food. If you’re not drinking enough water, your body can’t properly absorb the nutrients in your food. Drinking a glass of water before and after a meal is a great way to stay hydrated and make it easier to digest your meal.

Brain Function

Our brains and bodies are mainly composed of water, which is why water is crucial for brain function. While it is normal for our mental processes to slow as we age, we don’t want to accelerate it by depriving our brain and body of the water it needs. Cognitive function is enhanced when the brain cells receive appropriate hydration. “When we become dehydrated, even the tiniest bit, our brain has difficulty functioning, often leaving us confused and forgetful. Furthermore, prolonged dehydration in older adults causes brain cells to actually shrink. This has been linked to a symptom of the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.”[1]

Ensuring Senior Health at UMC at The Shores

After reading this, you might wonder exactly how much water you or a loved one needs each day. Since the factors to consider can vary depending on any existing conditions or medications, we recommend speaking with your primary care doctor to suggest an amount that is just right for you.

If you or a loved one needs a little reminder to drink more water throughout the day, we suggest setting a few alarms to go off throughout the day as a reminder or getting one of those large water bottles with measurements or tick marks to help track your progress. At our independent lifestyle community in South Jersey, teammates are available around the clock to ensure seniors’ health needs are met at all times – including if they are drinking enough water and eating nutritious meals each and every day.

If you would like more information about how we support and enhance all aspects of senior health at our senior living community in Cape May County, please contact our team at UMC today or visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org/theshores/

[1] https://getvipcare.com/blog/hydration-in-older-adults/

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