How much water do older adults need?
Water, agua, eau, mizu, or vatten - no matter what you call it, water is the core of our existence, biology, and health. But drinking enough water can feel like a bore, especially when soda, coffee, and alcohol call to us. This can be especially true for seniors, who’ve earned the right to drink whatever you want, right? However, while one of the benefits of getting older is that you no longer need to take orders from others, for the sake of your health and longevity, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your water intake anyway.
That’s why we’re embarking on a two-part series about the importance of staying hydrated for seniors. In today’s edition, let’s focus on exactly why hydration matters, and we’ll follow up in Part 2 with tips for seniors on how to actually drink more water. Let’s go!
H2-Oh So Important: How Much Water Should Seniors Drink?
Water is life, but how much should seniors drink to stay healthy? Well, most adults should be drinking 8 to 10 cups (1.9-2.4 liters) of water each day, but true hydration needs depend on age, sex, weight, activity level, climate, and any medical conditions you may have.
- Activity Level: If you’re an active senior who exercises regularly, you absolutely must hydrate more often to keep up your energy and avoid muscle loss, while older adults who stay close to home can get away with less water intake.
- Weight: The body also needs more fluids as weight increases to function optimally. Seniors weighing in at less than 100 pounds generally require less water than peers carrying over 200 pounds.
- Location: If you’re residing in Florida, where the heat and humidity can take a toll, you’ll need much more water than if you’re living in cool, dry Colorado. A climate that makes you sweat more also increases your need for water to keep your internal temperature in check.
- Medical conditions: For someone with kidney disease, for example, a medical professional may advise limiting fluid intake to prevent kidneys from overloading. It’s important to consult your doctor to find out if you should be drinking more or less based on your condition.
Signs of Dehydration in Seniors
It's critical to spot dehydration signs in seniors, as it can trigger or worsen urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and other chronic conditions like diabetes. You may not feel dehydrated even when you need water, so it's crucial to spot dehydration signs early. Here are some clues to look for:
- Dark Urine: The kidneys hold onto water when there is a shortage in the body, leading to darker urine that is more concentrated. Drink additional water to see if your urine lightens to determine if it is dehydration or something else.
- Fatigue: When dehydrated, our bodies can't deliver oxygen and nutrients to our muscles. Fatigue, weakness, lack of energy, and muscle cramps hint at a lack of water.
- Dizziness: Lightheadedness occurs when the body loses fluids and electrolytes. A ringing in your ears, nausea, or difficulty standing and walking are warning signs that you could be dehydrated.
- Confusion: Even mild dehydration can disrupt the brain's normal physiological processes, leading to poor focus, forgetfulness, or mood changes.
My mom and I wake up together everyday. We drink one or two cups in the morning, we spend time together, then we make a big jug of water with lemon, mint, and any fruit we feel like putting. I always had problems with drinking enough water daily so when I saw an ad for the Plant Nanny app I downloaded it and since then I have been drinking enough water. I suggested it to my mom and she loves it. Now we can grow our garden together. -- Plant Nanny user ＠muna_rojbani.
Proper hydration is crucial for older folks to maintain good health, cognitive function, energy levels, and mood. Don't miss Part 2 of our series, where we will provide helpful tips for seniors to stay hydrated easily!