The Importance of Hydration: Tips and Benefits

Hydration is essential for everyone, but it becomes increasingly important as we age. Dehydration can lead to various health issues, particularly in older people.

Staying hydrated

At Home Instead, we prioritise the well-being of our clients, and part of that includes ensuring they stay properly hydrated. In our 1-hour visits, our Care Professionals will offer and encourage a hot drink at the start of the visit, a full glass of water with their client’s medication, they will leave a cold drink out for them and also offer another cup of tea as they leave – this is a litre of liquid in 1-hour! In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of hydration for seniors and provide practical tips to help them maintain adequate fluid intake.

Why is hydration crucial as we age?

As we age, our bodies undergo changes that can affect our hydration levels. Here are some reasons why staying hydrated is especially important for older adults:

Reduced Thirst Sensation: we can often have a diminished sense of thirst as we age, which can lead to inadequate fluid intake.

Medication Side Effects: Many medications that older people take can increase the risk of dehydration.

Decreased Kidney Function: Aging kidneys may not conserve water as effectively, making hydration more critical.

Chronic Conditions: Conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can be exacerbated by dehydration.

Maintaining proper hydration levels offers numerous health benefits, including:

Improved Cognitive Function: Adequate hydration helps maintain cognitive abilities, reducing confusion and improving focus.

Enhanced Physical Health: Proper hydration supports joint lubrication, muscle function, and overall physical performance.

Better Digestion: Staying hydrated helps prevent constipation and promotes healthy digestion.

Optimal Heart Health: Hydration aids in maintaining blood volume and circulation, which is crucial for heart health.

Here are some practical tips to help loved ones stay hydrated:

  1. Set a Routine: Encourage people to drink fluids at regular intervals throughout the day. Setting specific times, such as after meals and between activities, can help establish a routine.
  2. Flavour the Water: Adding natural flavours like lemon, cucumber, or mint or some squash or cordial can make drinking water more enjoyable.
  3. Monitor Fluid Intake: Keep track of how much fluid is consumed daily. Using a hydration app or simply noting intake on a calendar can be helpful.
  4. Incorporate Hydrating Foods: Include foods with high water content in the diet, such as watermelon, oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers, custard, ice cream, yoghurts, Jelly Drops, pineapple, scrambled eggs, berries, pineapple and soup.
  5. Use Reminders: Set alarms or use reminder notes to prompt drinking water regularly.
  6. Keep Water Accessible: Ensure that water is always within reach, whether at home or on the go. Using a water bottle can be convenient.
  7. Offer Hydration Alternatives: If plain water is not appealing, offer alternatives like herbal teas, milk, or diluted fruit juices. Jelly drops are also a great option!

Hydration is a key component of healthy aging. By understanding the importance of adequate fluid intake and implementing practical strategies, elders can enjoy improved health and well-being. If you or a loved one needs assistance with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, our caregivers are here to help.