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hydration in aged care

The Importance of Hydration for Aged Care

With the cooler temperatures now upon us, we may find that we do not drink as much water as we would in the summer months.

However, the cooler temperatures are not a reason to reduce water intake. It is important to stay well hydrated to enable your body to work at its best and it can also make a big difference to how you feel.

Our bodies contain approximately 60% water. Water helps regulate body temperature; it transports nutrients and expels waste products and allows many of the biological functions and metabolic reactions to occur in the body.

Water keeps the blood in our bodies circulating and helps digestion. Cells need to be hydrated with water to ensure they do their job efficiently. If we are dehydrated, our skin becomes more susceptible to skin disorders and wrinkling. The body is not able to store water and needs fresh supplies daily.

If you are feeling thirsty, you are likely already dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, constipation, cloudy-headed, dry mouth and dark coloured urine.

As we age, we become more vulnerable to dehydration and, as a result, more susceptible to urinary tract infections, confusion and constipation.

Tips to stay well-hydrated and increase fluid intake

  • Aim for 6-8 glasses of fluid per day – this can include tea/coffee, milk, soup
  • Add lemon juice or slice of orange or a sprig of mint to a jug of water for a refreshing taste
  • Schedule your drinks over the day to ensure you are getting enough
  • Choose foods high in fluid eg watermelon, lettuce
  • Have a water bottle handy and top it up during the day
  • Remember to consume fluids before you are thirsty
  • Use the colour of your urine as a guide – urine should be a pale-yellow colour