Hydration, as we all know, is important regardless of age. As a general guideline, people should strive to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Some individuals, however, need more or less water depending upon medical conditions they may have, their level of physical activity, and other factors.
Elderly people, in particular, need to pay attention to their hydration levels. Even though all people need to drink enough water every day, it’s especially crucial for senior citizens to stay hydrated. You’ll see some key reasons for this later in this guide.
First, though, you need to understand why the aged are at higher risk of dehydration. Medication is a primary reason; many prescription pills function as diuretics, which can cause dehydration to occur faster. Furthermore, some elderly people struggle with immobility, which can make it challenging for them to get up to refill their glasses.
Reasons Senior Citizens Must Stay Hydrated
- Hydration improves brain function – Medical researchers know that 75 percent of the human body is composed of water and believe that 85 percent of the human brain also consists of H2O. Staying hydrated, studies have shown, maintains brain function, allowing senior citizens to think clearly and function effectively in their day-to-day lives.
- Hydration can lead to increased physical energy – Lethargy is a prime symptom of dehydration that can also lead to other health problems for senior citizens. The less physically active an older person is, the more likely it is that his or her lifespan will be shortened. Staying hydrated leads to higher energy levels, allowing aging people to engage in the activities they live longer.
- Hydration often results in better nutrition – While being hydrated does not directly improve a person’s nutrition, older people who focus on staying hydrated tend to eat better than those who don’t actively consider their hydration levels. Drinking water and eating foods that hydrate, such as apples and mangoes, generally leads to a balanced, healthy diet overall.
- Hydration can help fight illness – If your body is dehydrated, it will have to work harder just to function, let alone fight illnesses. Elderly people tend to have more trouble fighting bacteria and viruses, so staying hydrated is key to helping ward off everything from the common cold to more serious ailments like pneumonia.
Hydration is often important with medication. Many senior citizens take prescription medications every day; as mentioned earlier in this guide, many pills function as diuretics, which can lead to relatively rapid dehydration. If a doctor has told you or an aging loved one that hydration is critical while taking a certain medicine, make sure you listen and abide by his or her guidelines.