Now that winter is in full swing, you might be struggling to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated in winter can be especially challenging for seniors. This might be because you’re less physically active than you once were, and you are spending less time outdoors. Because it’s cold and you aren’t sweating or feeling hot, you may also find you feel less thirsty. But your water needs don’t get lower in the winter, even though you’re not feeling desperate for that cool glass of water. So how can seniors stay hydrated in winter?
Why Water Matters
Believe it or not, your hydration needs may actually be higher in winter than in other seasons. A study at the University of New Hampshire found that cold weather actually increases the risk of dehydration. Because hormones change with the seasons, and your body is more focused on maintaining core temperature than fluid levels, most people do feel less thirsty when they’re cold. But since heating systems usually dry out the air you’re breathing, you need to drink more water, not less.
Dehydration caused by drinking less fluids is a common condition in older adults. It is also a more serious condition for seniors. Low-intake dehydration in seniors is associated with worse cognition, lower quality of life, longer and harder recovery from illnesses, more hospital visits, and even a higher risk of mortality. So, it’s clear that hydration is very important for seniors, especially in the winter!
Since you’re feeling less thirsty, you might need to take a few extra steps to stay hydrated in winter months. Try these tips to keep your fluid uptake up when the weather is frigid!
- Drink warm liquids. Water isn’t the only liquid that hydrates! Tea, milk, juice, and even coffee all count towards your daily fluid intake. Large amounts of caffeine do cause your body to lose more water, but moderate caffeine intake doesn’t seem to be dehydrating. If you’re avoiding caffeine, you can choose decaf coffee, hot chocolate, herbal teas, or hot apple cider to get your fluids in while staying cozy and warm.
- Keep a water bottle with you (bonus points for a reusable one!) and drink sips of water whenever you think of it throughout the day. If you’re feeling chilly, you could carry an insulated tumbler or bottle of your favorite warm beverage instead. Many vacuum-sealed stainless steel containers available today can keep drinks warm for hours!
- Try to drink a full cup of water or other drink at every meal.
- Start your day off with a drink of water before you even get out of bed.
- Ask the staff at your senior living community to help remind you to drink fluids throughout the day.
Hydration is vitally important for everyone, but dehydration is even more common and dangerous in seniors. Stellar Living hopes these tips for staying hydrated in winter for seniors help! If you are beginning your search for a senior living community, find a Stellar community near you today.