Seniors have a higher
risk of dehydration
Older adults are more likely to becomedehydrated for several reasons,Sundberg says. For example, “theirthirst sensation may be decreasedor their kidneys aren’t functioningproperly, so they aren’t able to retainwater. And some people have troublewith cognition, so they forget to drink.”Seniors are also more likely to be takingmore medications, including diuretics—drugs that help lower blood pressure byflushing sodium and water out of thebody.
Older adults and people withmobility issues may also purposely limithow much they drink to save havingto take extra trips to the bathroom. “Ihear that all the time,” Sundberg says.“People don’t drink anything aftersupper even if they’re thirsty becausethey can’t get up on their own or it’s toomuch work.” (In a case like this, yourhealthcare professional can suggestways to get you through the night well-hydrated).
As for what to drink to keep yourbody running well, some liquids aredefinitely better than others (see sidebar).“I always recommend drinking waterfor your thirst and having milk withyour meals,” Sundberg says. Watch outfor that extra cup of coffee loaded withcaffeine, cream and sugar.
And limit fruit juice to half a cup of
unsweetened juice a day. “It’s extra
sugar,” she says. “We know that sugar
consumption is too high for most people
so we don’t want to overdo it on the
juice. We’d rather see people eat fruit or
vegetables to get their fibre and some
fluids rather than just fill up on juice.”
Kids need water, too. A typical four-
year-old needs 1,500 to 1,800 ml (six to
As for beer, wine and other alcoholicbeverages, they don’t count as part ofthe fluid you need every day. Alcoholis a diuretic, which means it actuallyremoves water from your body—itdoesn’t add it.
“Older adults have lower safer
drinking limits because their bodies
are more sensitive to the toxic effects of
If you have health issues or you’re
taking different medications, you may
have other risk factors around alcohol.
So turn on the tap and fill up yourwater bottle. Maybe add a squeeze oflemon and keep sipping throughout theday. “You don’t have to drink everythingall at once,” Sundberg says.
If you’re not sure whether you’regetting enough fluids, spend a day ortwo making a note of how much youare drinking. And pay attention at theother end of the process. “Make sureyour urine is light yellow,” she says.“That’s a pretty good sign. Sometimesif it’s too dark, you might be a little bitdehydrated.” |aDrink up!
How much liquid do you need in a day?
Adults need to consume 2. 25 to 3 L(nine to 12 cups) of fluids a day. Thebigger you are, the more you need.
What are the best liquids to drink?
• Unsweetened pop or sparkling water
• Unsweetened juice (no more than 125
ml per day)
• Low-fat milk
• Decaf tea and coffee, herbal teas
• Low-sodium broths.
Tips to stay hydrated:
• Drink a glass of water when you wakeup
• Carry a water bottle with youthroughout the day and sip often
• Drink a glass of water before each meal
• Drink water before, during and afterbeing active.
Can you eat your way to hydration?
No, but most fruits and vegetables have
What about booze?
high water content, as well as the fibre
that your body needs every day. You
could eat an orange, grapefruit or apple
instead of having a glass of juice.
Drinking alcohol doesn’t count as partof the fluid you need to stay hydrated. Ifyou do drink alcohol, Low Risk DrinkingGuidelines suggest that you:
• Drink slowly and alternate with nonalcoholic drinks
• Have no more than two drinks in anythree-hour period
• Go a day or two a week withoutalcohol
• Women have no more than 10 drinksa week with no more than two drinksa day, most days
• Men have no more than 15 drinks aweek with no more than three drinksa day, most days.