Did you know that our bodies are 92% water?!
It’s easy to see how quickly trouble can arise when we don’t get proper hydration — especially for those of us living amongst the dry desert climate here in Arizona.
Although proper hydration is important for everyone, it’s especially vital for seniors, as the elderly are more susceptible to health risks when dehydrated.
As we age, we’re unable to detect hot and cold like we used to. Our body’s mechanisms that control our perception of temperature do not operate as efficiently: weakening our internal temperature gage that tells us to seek shelter. This can be further exasperated in those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. For this reason, we have a rule at Oakwood that no member is allowed out on the patios for more than 20 minutes in the severe heat of summer.
If you’re feeling like you or your loved one may be dehydrated — look for any of these signs and symptoms:
- Confusion, Agitation and/or Balance problems
- Dry Mouth
- No skin elasticity (when you pinch the skin, it stays pinched when you let go)
- Reduced urination and strong odor
- Complaints of headache, dizziness and/or muscle cramping
Throughout my years of nursing, I’ve seen first-hand that water drinkers are less inclined to get sick, and have a longer life span than those who don’t make proper hydration a priority. Science has backed this up, as well!
Tips for improving hydration:
- Drink six to eight 8oz glasses of water per day.
Drinking this much water every day is important for many reasons. It has a lot to do with detoxification. Toxins are ultimately excreted through your stool and urine. When we don’t drink enough water, we can become constipated; have darker urine; and urinate less frequently. These are signs that our detoxification system is not operating optimally, and our heath and mind will suffer as a consequence.
- Clean water is a MUST!
Unfortunately, much of our water supply is contaminated with microbes, pesticides, plastics, metals, chlorine, fluoride (yes, fluoride) and other toxins. So, drinking water out of the tap is less than ideal. The best water to drink has been passed through a filtering process. Common and inexpensive filters are available, such as carbon filters like the ones Brita makes. I recommend you look into getting a filter like this, and filtering all of your water before drinking. Or, just purchase filtered water from the store.
- Healthy alternatives to plain water
Be weary of Gatorade and other energy drinks on the markets, as these can cause more damage than good. Their high sugar content can spike our blood sugar levels, causing us to crash. Some of these types of drinks even contain caffeine, which only exacerbates dehydration. Coconut Water is one of the best waters for hydrating, and a fantastic option after exercise! Non-caffeinated herbal teas are great options for hydrating, as well.
- Flavored Water
Many people don’t like drinking plain water. The good news is, there are many options for flavored waters on the market these days! However, it’s important to read their labels and check their sugar content. Too much sugar in thebody causes inflammation and inflammation causes disease. Look for flavored water with low sugar content. Alternatively, you can add flavor to water on your own, too. Plain water is very tasty with fresh lemon, lime, strawberries, melon and or cucumber. If you still need that sweet taste, try adding some organic honey (do not give organic honey to a child under 2 yrs. old).
- Don’t just sip
My son, who practices Chinese Medicine, always says: “To properly hydrate the body, we need to drink large amounts of water all at once, and then a little bit more. When we sip on water all day, it’s only able to hydrate our tissues, and does not get to our internal organs or our brains. This causes internal dehydration. Try to get in the habit of drinking a huge glass of water every morning and before each meal, whether you think you need it or not. Your body and your brain will thank you.”
So, on that note, let’s continue to work together to promote a Healthy Oakwood Family.
Here’s to Health and Hydration,