Water Water Everywhere – But Many Don’t Drink Enough for Health

Water is essential to our lives. Our bodies need to not only be refueled but also need to be hydrated. Getting older does not change the need we have for fluids to remain healthy.  Unfortunately, getting older for many means drinking less fluid than our bodies need. Older adults tend not to want to drink much because it might mean more trips to the bathroom than they may want to make due to decreased mobility or the fear of falling on the way.

Aging can also lead to a reduced sensation of thirst so that our senior loved ones do not feel the need to drink enough fluids. Many seniors also prefer warm beverages and tend to drink caffeinated fluids more often, which can actually work against them in the short run due to the diuretic properties of caffeine, especially if they’re not replacing fluid losses. Older generations did not grow up with a bottle of water in their hands like many of our children, and even many of us, currently do. Drinking six to eight or more glasses of water is not intriguing to them.

Strategies to Increase Water Intake

Seniors need to increase their overall consumption of fluids using some of these suggestions. You may also want to discourage an excess intake of caffeinated beverages.

  • Drink water flavored with citrus either lime, lemon or orange wedges. You can also purchase packets of dehydrated citrus that are very flavorful, easy to store, and calorie free.
  • Use decaffeinated iced tea, hot tea and coffee. Try hot water with honey. Drink other beverages such as lemonade or Crystal Light flavored beverages to mix it up.
  • Encourage fruit juice, milk and vegetable juices at meals instead of regular coffee. These choices also provide increased nutrition.
  • Eat fresh fruits at meals or snacks especially those containing higher water content such as watermelons and grapes.
  • Give gelatin, popsicles, sorbet and ices as treats.
  • Include soup with meals, preferably lower sodium versions.
  • Every time your senior uses the bathroom, get them to drink some water to replace the loss.
  • Keep a pitcher in the refrigerator with the day’s allotment of water. You will know how much more is needed to get enough and see if your senior is drinking enough.
  • Be sure you drinks an 8 ounce glass of water with medications.

You will feel better if they are getting enough water each day and with some practice it will become a habit!

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