gmhTODAY 30 gmhTODAY April June 2020s | Page 74

{ } AGING with an Attitude Drinking Water… It Doesn't Have to be Tortuous I t was in one of my Gerontology classes that I realized how danger- ous dehydration can be and I made it part of my mission to do what it takes to prevent dehydration when I opened Visiting Angels. Boy, was I sur- prised to fi nd out how tough it would be to get older adults to drink water! I too hated water, so to practice what I preached, I got on the research trail. So far, I have found the following to work: • Adding fresh fruit, veggie slices, or herbs seemed to make water tastier. A little bit of coconut water (with the least amount of sugar): add just enough for taste to control sugar intake. • Virginia, a centenarian client, sug- gested squeezing lemon into the water and warming it, to cleanse the colon fi rst thing in the morning if I want to live long. • Virginia credited sipping water before any activity for her great skin. Sip before you pick up the phone to make a call, sip before you order a meal, sip before you get up to do the laundry. • Diluting sugary drinks with water and ice does not sound like fun but stay with it – you will notice that you feel better with less sugar intake! • Get a pitcher and fi ll it with water, to remember to drink (you may have to entice your brain to like what is in the pitcher (tastier water). • Vegetables and fruits with high water content helped. (e.g. cucumbers, zucchinis, watermelons, lettuce, cab- 74 bage, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and grapefruit contain more than 90% water). • At work, if fruits are not available – put a small cut of fresh ginger or herbal tea in your water! • Experimenting with water tem- peratures helped. The warm water fi rst thing in the morning made it easier to wake up. The colder water or popsicles during the day gave a welcome jolt on a day that seemed to drag! But what worked for me, some cli- ents scoffed at. Here are other ideas… • With the help of the family, we made a deal with those who loved salty or sweet stuff: they could get some but they needed to drink more water as they enjoyed these snacks. • We got some bright-colored water bottles as a bold reminder. • Some responded to the alarm on their smartphones (yes, they rolled their eyes before drinking). • On a cold day, brothy soup helped with hydration. • On a warm day, milkshakes, smooth- ies, watered down Ensure and sports drinks helped. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SPRING 2020 Some enjoyed monitoring their water intake with a free app like Daily Water Free or Daily Water which can be downloaded onto one’s phone. Then there’s the high-tech DrinKup which comes in different cool colors and is super sleek, and its accompanying app. This water bottle recommends a personalized daily water intake, sends alerts when it is time to sip and docu- ments water intake. It keeps drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. In yesteryears, 8 cups of water was recommended. But that is not based on science, it turns out. So how much water should you drink a day? Experts agree that it depends on your size and weight, your level of activity and the climate where you live. The easy way is to take half of your weight (that will be your minimum in ounces) and your actual weight as your maximum. For example if you weigh 110 lbs, your minimum will be 55 ounces. (A small bottle of water usually has 16 ounces so in this case, about 3.4 of these bottles). If you are sedentary, you can go for the minimum. For the very active who lives in a hotter climate, the recommended amount in this example would be 110 ounces (i.e. 6.88 of those small bottles of water). There’s the unknown – how active is active and all those undefined factors. Your urine tells all: if it is clear or light yel- low and has no smell, you are being good to your body! Whether you are motivated by the knowledge that your body is about 70% water and drinking enough of it is critical to your health; or that water is important to your electrolyte balance,