Whether it pertains to stairlifts or not, when Acorn Stairlifts says that we care about our customers and their well-being, only wanting to give them the best, we mean it.
This also applies to our customers’ overall quality of life.
We want you to lead the healthiest, happiest, and most fulfilling lives possible. We want to see you succeed and reach new heights not only in mobility and independence but in all areas of their lives.
Without further ado, welcome back to “Acorn Stairlifts Tip of the Week,” a series in which we will equip seniors with all the knowledge, tools, and helpful advice that they need to succeed in their lives—ranging anywhere from physical health, to saving money with senior discounts, and just about everything in between.
Read on to learn why staying hydrated is not only important for everyone—but especially for seniors.
The Acorn Stairlifts Senior Tip of the Week
Keep your health above water as you age by staying hydrated.
We can’t live without it—After just 3 days without it, most of us would be dead.
Yet, shockingly, two-thirds of people are dehydrated on a daily basis.
That’s right—I’m talking about water, the liquid that we can’t survive without but still simultaneously remains forgotten and “deserted.”
The ugly truth is that most of us are not getting enough water, but this issue becomes even more concerning for seniors, a demographic that is already more prone to the dangers of dehydration.
Why is Hydration Especially Important for Seniors?
Hydration holds paramount significance for seniors due to the unique physiological changes and health challenges that often accompany ageing.
As we age, many of our body’s processes begin to slow down to a crawl, including metabolism, appetite, perception of thirst, absorption of nutrients, and retention of water.
Dehydration becomes a critical concern for older individuals as their ability to retain water diminishes with age. Reduced thirst perception, medications, and certain medical conditions can all contribute to an increased risk of dehydration among seniors.
Dehydration not only leads to discomfort but can also have severe consequences such as urinary tract infections, kidney problems, and exacerbation of existing health conditions.
Adequate hydration is vital for maintaining cognitive function, regulating body temperature, and supporting various bodily processes, making it not just a matter of comfort for seniors but a fundamental aspect of ensuring their health, vitality, and longevity.
How Much Water Should Seniors Be Drinking a Day?
As a general guideline, it is recommended by experts that older adults consume at least 1.7 liters of fluid every day, or per 24-hour period.
In other measurements, this fluid quantity is equivalent to 57.5 fluid ounces, or 7.1 cups.
How Does Dehydration Dampen Your Overall Health as You Age?
Dehydration is a dangerous state for anyone to be in—After all, our bodies are composed of anywhere from 45% to 75% water. Our very survival, as well as the proper functioning of our bodies depend entirely on it.
However, for seniors, dehydration is even more dangerous for several reasons:
Impaired Kidney Function
Ageing can lead to a gradual decline in kidney function, which is responsible for filtering waste and maintaining the body's fluid balance. Dehydration places additional stress on the kidneys, making it harder for them to remove waste products and toxins from the body.
Reduced Cognitive Function
Dehydration can impair cognitive function, including memory, attention, and decision-making. As you age, your brain may become more vulnerable to the effects of dehydration, potentially leading to issues like confusion and difficulty concentrating.
Increased Risk of Urinary Tract Infections
Dehydration can lead to a more concentrated urine, which may increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs are more common in the elderly and can be more severe, leading to complications if left untreated.
Greater Risk of Falls and Fractures
Dehydration can lead to dizziness, low blood pressure, and muscle weakness, increasing the risk of falls. In the elderly, falls can result in fractures and other serious injuries.
Dehydration can affect the digestive system, leading to constipation and other gastrointestinal issues, which can become more problematic as you age.
Dehydrated skin is more prone to dryness, irritation, and wrinkles, which can be more visible and problematic as you age.
Dehydration can result in lower blood volume, leading to an increased heart rate and reduced ability to regulate body temperature. This places extra strain on the cardiovascular system, which may be less adaptable in older individuals.
Many older adults take multiple medications, and dehydration can affect how these drugs are absorbed and metabolised. This can lead to medication-related complications or reduced effectiveness.
Weakened Immune System
Dehydration can weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for your body to fight off infections and illnesses, which can be particularly concerning for older individuals who may have compromised immune systems.
Complications of Chronic Conditions
Dehydration can exacerbate chronic health conditions common in older adults, such as diabetes and hypertension, potentially leading to more severe symptoms and complications.
Most concerning of all, more severe complications caused by chronic dehydration include seizures, low blood pressure, swelling of the brain, kidney stones, kidney failure, heatstroke, coma, shock, and even death.
What Are the Benefits of Staying Hydrated as a Senior?
Just as the consequences of dehydration can be even more severe for seniors; On the flip side, the benefits of staying properly hydrated as a senior can be even more rewarding.
In fact, proper hydration can provide several specific benefits to seniors, helping them maintain and improve their overall health and well-being.
Here are some of the key benefits of staying hydrated as a senior:
Improved Cognitive Function
Proper hydration can help maintain mental clarity and cognitive function, reducing the risk of confusion and cognitive decline often associated with ageing.
Better Physical Performance
Adequate hydration can support muscle function and reduce the risk of muscle cramps and weakness, which is especially important for maintaining mobility and independence as you age.
Reduced Risk of Falls
Dehydration can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness, increasing the risk of falls. Staying hydrated helps maintain proper blood pressure and balance, reducing the likelihood of falls and associated injuries.
Kidney Function Support
Adequate hydration helps the kidneys filter waste and toxins from the body more effectively, which is particularly important as kidney function naturally declines with age.
Staying hydrated can help prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements, which can be a common concern for seniors.
Proper hydration can help maintain joint lubrication, potentially reducing discomfort from conditions like arthritis.
Hydration is essential for maintaining skin elasticity and reducing dryness, which can help with the prevention of skin problems and maintaining a more youthful appearance.
Reduced Risk of Urinary Tract Infections
Adequate fluid intake helps maintain urinary tract health and reduces the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), which are more common among seniors.
Staying hydrated helps regulate blood pressure and maintain proper blood volume, supporting overall heart and cardiovascular health.
Seniors often take multiple medications, and proper hydration can help these drugs work more effectively and reduce the risk of medication-related complications.
Immune System Support
Adequate hydration can bolster the immune system's ability to fight off infections and illnesses, which can be especially important for seniors with weakened immune systems.
Management of Chronic Conditions
Many seniors have chronic health conditions, and proper hydration can help manage these conditions more effectively and reduce the risk of complications.
So, before you start pushing your water bottle off to the side, telling yourself that it’s “not a big deal” to stay hydrated every day, think again.
How Can I Consume Enough Fluids and Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day?
Do you struggle to stay hydrated, whether you tend to forget to drink your water or just feel like it’s near impossible to consume the recommended amounts of fluids for your body?
Click here to learn some useful tips on how you can up your water intake and drown your dehydration for good.
Want to learn about what liquids are the best choices for helping you achieve your hydration goals?
Remember that boosting your water intake doesn’t have to be boring or burdensome—It’s never too late to “turn the tides towards a healthier,” happier, and more hydrated life.