It’s always good to keep an eye on our hydration but when hot weather sets in, it’s more important than ever to take a good look at how much water you and your loved ones are or aren’t consuming.
But water is boring, you say? Au contraire!!
How about checking out some great ideas on how you can make water less, ‘Ho Hum.’
But let’s first take a look at the causes and signs of dehydration to help us better understand this!
Dehydration: The Causes, The Health Risks
Dehydration is often due partly to inadequate water intake, but can happen for many other reasons as well, including as a side effect of prescribed medication like diuretics, diarrhea, excessive sweating, loss of blood and diseases such as diabetes. Aging itself makes people less aware of thirst and also gradually lowers the body’s ability to regulate its fluid balance.
Elders may not feel thirst as keenly.
Scientists warn that the ability to be aware of and respond to thirst is slowly blunted as we age. As a result, older people do not feel thirst as readily as younger people do. This increases the chances of them consuming less water and consequently suffering dehydration.
Less body fluids, lower kidney function.
The body loses water as we age. Until about age 40, the proportion of total body fluids to body weight is about 60% in men and 52% in women.
Dehydration: Recognize The Symptoms
Those caring for elderly persons should watch for these signs of dehydration.
· Dryness of mouth; dry tongue with thick saliva
· Unable to urinate or pass only small amounts of urine; dark or deep yellow urine
· Cramping in limbs
· Crying but with few or no tears
· Weakness, general feeling of being unwell
· Sleepiness or irritability
More serious dehydration:
· Low blood pressure
· Severe cramping and muscle contractions in limbs, back and stomach
· Bloated stomach
· Rapid but weak pulse
· Dry and sunken eyes with few or no tears
· Wrinkled skin; no elasticity
· Breathing faster than normal
And how about this very useful tool from H4H…Hydration 4 Health!
This may help you determine if you or your loved one might be dehydrated…
Ok, now that we know some more about dehydration and what to look for, here are some ideas on how to make water less boring!!
1. Add a Spa-Worthy Slice: “Day spas and high-end salons have taken to filling their pitchers with slices you’d usually see resting on eyelids: piles of bright green cucumber. And with good reason. The resulting flavor is refreshing, and refreshingly different.”
2. Make Yourself Feel Bubbly: “Grab a bottle of sparkling water for the bubbly feeling of a soft drink without the calories. If it’s too bland, add a twist of lime, says David Jack, director of Teamworks Fitness in Acton, MA . “I love this with cranberry or pomegranate juice,” Jack says. “You can add a few dashes of each of those, and maybe a bit of lemon, lime, or orange rind.” Try different combinations to keep things interesting, or to find your signature seltzer refresher.”
3. Tea time: “Choose any of the innumerable varieties of teas and herbal drinks, not only to stay hydrated, but also to reap piles of benefit for your body. Black tea contains catechins, flavonoids that can improve cardiovascular health and may help prevent cancer. Green tea lowers your risk of heart disease, reduces your risk of lung cancer, and can help your body burn fat more easily—the polyphenols in the tea appear to work with caffeine to increase calorie burn.
And take advantage of herbal teas’ many properties. Sage tea can help with excessive perspiration. Chamomile can help control blood pressure, and ease digestion and gas. Ginger tea can soothe your stomach and ease arthritis pain.”
4. Bubble Some Broth Instead: “Warm up in winter with a vegetable or chicken broth, or a light soup, says Jack. “Broth is a great hydrator, and you’re getting all those nutrients—vitamins from the vegetables, and protein from the chicken, if you add it,” he says.”
5. Go Herbal: “You don’t have to brew herbs to enjoy their flavor. Add powdered or freshly sliced ginger, bruised mint leaves, or lemongrass to amp up your H2O . Or go floral. Lavender and rose hips are loaded with vitamin C and may help ease arthritis pain.”
6. Make it fruity: “You’ve tried lemon and lime. Time to diversify: Add antioxidants found in sliced berries, suggests Devon Metz, founder of Fit Health Into Life in Boulder, CO. Or try what’s on sale or in season: cherries, mango, pineapple, oranges, watermelon—anything to add flavor, vitamins, and antioxidants. Can’t get fresh fruit? Just as with seltzer, try a splash—a quarter cup or less—of fruit juice for flavor with few calories.”
7. Change Up Your Cubes: “Freeze some fruit juice into ice cubes to add flavor that releases slowly in your water. Or drop some fresh berries or sliced grapes into your ice cube trays, or use frozen berries as if they were cubes. Changing just the texture of your cubes can create a new experience, if not taste, says Jack. So trade cubed for crushed, or vice versa.”
8. Make It Sassy: “As part of the best-selling Flat Belly Diet, dieters stay hydrated with this stomach-soothing recipe for Sassy Water. It combines fresh ginger, cucumber, lemon, and spearmint for a belly-pleasing (and slimming) cocktail.”
9. Eat Something Instead: “Eat more fruit,” says Alan Aragon, MS, a nutritionist in Westlake Village, CA. “Fruits are 80 to 90% water, and you’re getting a bunch of good nutrition that people tend to miss in their diets—potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C.” Vegetables will do the trick too. Aragon suggests a salad of tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cucumbers, and other water-rich greens.”
10. Switch It Up: “Simply change the way you drink water—out of a glass instead of a bottle, for example—says Jack. Or drink it at a different temperature. “If you change the temperature, you can change the experience, and that can be enough,” Jack says. Plus, “cold water takes longer to drink.” If you want to down it faster—to get your water-intake over with—drink it at room temperature instead of icy cold.”
Can you think of other ways to help make drinking water less boring as we keep an eye on our Seniors?
Please click on ‘Comments’ below and partner with us in sharing some of your own great ideas!
Care4You staff and caregivers are always looking for creative ways to help our Seniors and their families stay hydrated, especially throughout the hot months of summer!