Let's drink to summer

The average adult needs 48-64 ounces of fluid each day.

By Elizabeth Stanton, Registered Dietitian, Elder Service Plan

As the warm weather continues, it is important to remember to stay hydrated. Older adults and those with chronic illnesses are at greater risk for dehydration due to decreased thirst sensation, lower food and beverage intake, and medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes and kidney disease.

Thirst is a normal indicator of the body’s fluid needs, but it is not always reliable. The body is already mildly dehydrated by the time an average person starts to feel thirsty.

Dehydration can affect cognitive performance such as vision, tension, anxiety, fatigue and memory. Dehydration has also been linked to a negative mood, impaired motor performance, and short-term memory loss.

Severe dehydration can result in confusion, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, and in the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness.

How much fluid does a person need?
The average adult needs 48-64 ounces of fluid each day. Fluid needs increase on hot days or if you are ill with fever, diarrhea or vomiting. To help keep track of your daily fluid intake, try filling a container of water and keep it in your refrigerator.

Contrary to popular belief, water is not the only source of fluid. Fluids sources include coffee, tea, juice, milk, gelatin, ice cream, popsicles, sherbet and soup. Some fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, are also good sources of fluid. If you are trying to control your weight, your diabetes, or simply want to avoid extra calories and sugar, water is the best choice for fluid.

Do you know someone 55+ who needs extra support to stay healthy in their home and community? If so, meet the team at CHA’s Elder Service Plan and visit www.challiance.org/esp/elder-service-plan or call 617-575-5850. CHA can help older adults who have comprehensive health and social needs that affect their daily lives.

Cambridge Health Alliance

Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.