The Wonder of Water

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Dehydration is one of the top reasons seniors end up at the doctor’s office. If you’re a senior, dehydration is an even higher liability for landing you in the hospital. Now is the time for all good seniors to drink more water!

Of course, every body is different. Seniors with heart conditions need to follow a doctor’s advice about liquid intake to avoid having fluids build up in the body. But many seniors are more likely to drink too little water than too much.

Dry Bones

Let’s face it. The older we get the more our bodies tend to dry up! That means we have to push that water a little more often than ever before. My mama is a living testimony to what drinking a lot of water can do for an older person. It’s kept her going especially during the summer months when she loves to work out in her yard. She doesn’t step out of the door without water in her hand. At 82, she can work circles around me. Did you guess? I have a little more trouble getting my water down.

My daddy lost his bladder to cancer 16 years ago. That put a lot more strain on the kidneys. It’s a short distance from his stomach to his kidneys and potassium can build up and cause muscle cramps, vomiting and kidney failure. I guess I take after my daddy because drinking water isn’t something either of us do easily. When he came home from the hospital, I had to find a way to help him get down more water. It was apparent after two more rounds to the hospital with kidney infections. Food was also a problem if it had lots of potassium. But if he wanted a little bit of potatoes he could get by if he drank more water.

Now I have to coach myself to get more water during the day. I passed the 60-year mark and I don’t want health problems due to dehydration. Compounding the problem is summertime and the air is so hot and dry here in the Sacramento Valley that you have to drink even more.

Avoiding Dehydration

Here are a few tricks I play on myself to get more water down during the day.

  1. Get an insulated cup that has a built in lid and straw. Drinking through a straw makes the water go down faster. It’s also easier to take along with you outside or even in the car. Just be sure to sterilize the cups, straw and lid often.
  2. Add a touch of lime or lemon. I love the taste of limes so I add it to my water with lots of ice and I’ll have it gone before I even know it. You can also freeze pieces of fruit to add to your water. I think I’ll try some fresh frozen peaches!
  3. Stay away from caffeine and carbonation. Both are known to dehydrating you. If you do partake in coffee or soda, make sure to have a water chaser.
  4. Drink a glass as soon as you get up in the morning. It’s cleansing to your system.
  5. Drink one glass before each meal. It will not only help you stay hydrated, it also aids in digestion.
  6. One glass before bed will help with swelling feet. Just drink it early enough that you don’t end up having to get up in the middle of the night. It also helps your kidneys function better during the night.

If you are a caregiver, you need to be pushing those fluids all day long with yourself and your loved one. My daddy keeps a large glass right next to his recliner so he doesn’t forget to keep drinking. I also encouraged him to keep one on his nightstand. If he gets the least bit dehydrated, the cramps and stomach problems remind him to drink. I know his water intake has not only kept him healthier, but for the past eight years his doctors have been pushing him to start dialysis. He refuses. They’ve been very surprised how well he’s maintained his kidney function.

Happy Drinking!

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