Prepared by Evelyn James this information provides some useful tips about staying hydrated and includes links to some helpful resources.
We tend to associate dehydration with the hot summer months, but staying hydrated is just as important in winter. Water is fundamental to your health and plays a key role in most bodily functions. Not drinking enough can lead to various health issues including headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. Severe dehydration can even cause death if left untreated. Older people have less water in their bodies than younger adults and children, so it’s even more important to drink enough. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to include more water in your diet. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated this winter.
Set a reminder on your phone
Studies have found that we tend to be 40% less thirsty in winter! This means that you may go hours without having a drink and fail to notice if you become dehydrated. The Eatwell Guide recommends that adults should drink between 6 and 8 glasses of water a day. This can also other liquids such as milk, coffee, and herbal teas. One of the easiest ways to ensure that you are drinking enough is to set reminders to prompt you to drink. You can set an alarm on your mobile phone to remind you to have a drink at regular intervals i.e. every hour. This will eliminate the risk of you forgetting to drink throughout the day.
Make water more appetising
Water is tasteless and many people find it boring to drink. However, you should try to avoid carbonated drinks and fruit juices as they tend to contain lots of sugar. Having too much sugar in your diet can cause weight gain and put you at a higher risk of developing medical conditions like type 2 diabetes. If you struggle to drink enough, then try making water more appetising by adding natural flavourings. You can use things like lemon slices, cucumber, and fresh mint to flavour your water and make it more appealing. Use different fruits and herbs to create your own tasty combinations. You can even buy specialist water infusion bottles that contain a removable core that you fill with fruit slices. These are a great option for carers as you can prepare your water bottle in the mornings and take it to work with you so that you have a tasty, healthy drink on the go. The water bottle can be refilled throughout the day to ensure that you are drinking enough.
Eat water-rich foods
Water doesn’t just come from drinking - you can get plenty of extra hydration through eating water-rich foods. Try to include hydrating foods in your diet as a way to boost your daily water intake. Some foods with the highest water content include cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, melon, and oranges. Plus, these water-rich foods are packed full of nutrients and vitamins to support good health. Carers can take slices of water-rich fruits and vegetables into work in Tupperware boxes to snack on throughout the day. This will provide you with some much-needed energy and keep your hydration levels up.
Buy drinking aids
Elderly people often develop mobility issues that can make it difficult to drink from regular cups. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of tools and equipment that are designed to assist elderly people with eating and drinking. If you are caring for an elderly person, then you can encourage them to stay hydrated by purchasing drinking aids i.e. a special cup. You should also assist with drinking when needed. If your loved one is struggling to complete essential daily activities like eating and drinking, then it might be a good idea to arrange for a professional carer to visit them at home and assist with their daily tasks. Experts at Helping Hands explain how “elderly care can be offered through regular home visits, during day or night.” This means that you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved one is receiving the support they need to remain living comfortably and safely at home.
Drinking the recommended amount of water is often easy during the hot summer months, but it can be more difficult in winter. You may feel less thirsty when it’s cold and not notice the need to drink as regularly. However, failing to include enough water in your diet can have serious consequences on your health. Particularly for elderly people who have less water in their bodies to start with. Luckily, there are dozens of ways to drink more and boost your water intake. Use the above tips to make sure that you stay properly hydrated this winter!
- Achieve Oxfordshire, Staying Hydrated in Winter: Top Tips, https://www.achieveoxfordshire.org.uk/news/staying-hydrated-in-winter-top-tips (opens new window)
- NHS, The Eatwell Guide, https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/ (opens new window)
- True Citrus, Why is it Healthy to Drink More Fruit Infused Water, https://www.truelemon.com/blogs/tc/why-drink-fruit-infused-water (opens new window)
- Bupa, 10 water-rich foods that will help you stay hydrated, https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/ten-water-rich-foods-hydration (opens new window)
- Helping Hands, Elderly Care, https://www.helpinghandshomecare.co.uk/home-care-services/elderly-care/ (opens new window)