Health tips > Water Education > Water & Health > Water and Senior Citizens
........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................



Water and Senior Citizens

<< Back to Water Education

     






As we age, the balance between our need for water and our thirst for water shifts. In fact, the less water an older person drinks, the less thirsty they become, leaving them open to the risk of serious dehydration and other complications.

Exercise and warm weather both call for additional water intake to replace fluids lost through excessive perspiration.

 

Increased fiber intake among seniors, which is usually recommended for older people to aid with constipation and other health concerns, also increases the need for water.

The human body is at least 50% water, of which 2-3 quarts are lost on a daily basis. Even bones are over 20% water! Aside from replenishing what is lost in order to hydrate the blood and tissues, water also lubricates joints, regulates temperature, and moistens the lungs to allow for breathing.
Inadequate water intake over time prevents these processes from occurring, leading to arthritis, sore muscles, heavy breathing, and a higher body temperature. This means that not drinking enough water over time can result in more severe effects at an older age, which means preventable problems during what should be the golden years.

Senior citizens are at particular risk for dehydration because their kidney function has diminished to some degree.
Symptoms of dehydration, which can cause death in extreme circumstances, include confusion, drowsiness, labored speech, dry mouth, and sunken eyeballs. Side effects for seniors who do not drink enough water, however, extend far beyond dehydration.

Even short-term water deprivation has been known to cause chronic pain. Over time, lack of water causes loss of muscle tone, excess weight gain, slow metabolism, increased toxicity, and even organ failure.
Other negative effects include arthritis, dry skin, migraines, hypertension, digestive complications, and persistent constipation.

In order to maintain health, the kidneys must excrete a minimum of ten ounces of waste per day.
When water is not available, there is nothing present in which to dissolve the body waste products (uric acid and urea) for expulsion. As a result, they build up within the body, leading to kidney stones, while putting additional strain on the kidneys to find adequate liquid with which to expel toxins.

Considering the abundance of water in our daily lifestyles, the fact that most senior citizens are consistently dehydrated to some degree is alarming. All foods are partly composed of water; fruits and vegetables are over 75% H2O, and even bread is more than 30% water. Yet with the abundance of water in their diet, the average senior citizen still requires over two-and-a-half quarts of pure water each and every day to maintain good health.