Everyone knows staying hydrated is essential for staying healthy. After all, 60% of our bodies are composed of water. We’ve all also likely heard that people should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to stay hydrated, but did you know research shows that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated?
This is especially concerning for older individuals, as a 2020 study from The Journal of Physiology notes that people need to drink more water as they age. However, it’s not just the quantity of water that’s important — quality also matters, and greatly. In Aquasana’s third annual consumer water quality survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults (ages 18-79), we set out to discover how in tune the different generations are when it comes to water quality. What we found about Baby Boomers was concerning: it turns out that they are 44% less likely to filter their water compared to other generations.
Whether you use a filter or not, it’s important to use a critical eye when it comes to your drinking water so you can make an informed decision about this key part of your health. In this post, we’ll explain why older adults need to drink more water and break down survey data that helps explain why Baby Boomers may not be filtering their drinking water as much as other generations. We’ll also talk about the importance of staying hydrated with clean, contaminant-free water as you age.
As people age, the thirst center (located in the hypothalamus) reduces activity, so older individuals may not feel the urge to drink even if they are dehydrated. Additionally, unlike younger people, older people’s bodies don’t increase their rate of sweat to cool down when they’re dehydrated, which can put additional strain on the heart.
Essentially, older individuals may be able to go about their day and even undergo strenuous activity, like exercise, without showing or feeling the signs of dehydration. However, while things may appear fine, the heart is working harder which can result in unexpected medical issues. With this in mind, older individuals need to make an extra effort to drink plenty of water, and remember that quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to hydration.
According to Aquasana’s survey, the primary reason Baby Boomers don’t filter their drinking water is because they don’t think it’s necessary. In fact, 61% of Baby Boomers who don’t use a water filter cited this as their rationale. As to why Baby Boomers don’t believe it’s necessary to filter their drinking water, more than half (52%) of Baby Boomers stated they are confident in the quality of their city’s water supply, which may indicate high trust in government infrastructure — warranted or not.
This data lines up with a 2021 Pew Research Center study that found Baby Boomers have more trust in government infrastructure than all generations except the Silent Generation (people born from 1928-1945).
However, Baby Boomer’s high trust in infrastructure actually contrasts with the national consensus, as confidence in water infrastructure has declined among the U.S. population as a whole. For example, another survey found less than half (47%) of people rate the U.S.’s current water infrastructure as “good” and 78% of the people support reinvesting to improve the nation’s water infrastructure.
That is to say, that Baby Boomers’ trust in the quality of their water may be misplaced, as most of the population tends to agree the current water infrastructure needs improvement. By trusting in their drinking water and not using a filter, Baby Boomers may be putting their health at risk.
It’s not enough to just drink lots of water, you also need to make sure the water you’re drinking is clear of any harmful contaminants. As discussed earlier, a lot of Baby Boomers don’t use a water filter because they feel confident in the quality of their city’s drinking water.
However, even if you are confident in your city’s water it’s important to note water can become contaminated after it leaves your local water treatment facility. This reason alone may be enough to reconsider your need for a water filter at home.
For example, America’s top water contaminant concern of 2021 was lead — and with good reason. It’s estimated there are up to 12.8 million pipes in the U.S. that either use lead or feature lead soldering. It’s possible your home may also have lead pipes, especially if you live in an older home. As water passes through these pipes, it picks up microscopic traces of lead that cannot be seen by the human eye, but can negatively affect your health. In fact, The Water Quality Association reported that nearly all of the lead in people’s tap water comes from after it leaves the water treatment plant.
As you increase your water intake with age, it’s important to filter your water to prevent harmful contaminants from affecting your health. Contaminants like lead, viruses, bacteria, PFAS, and fluoride can sometimes make their way into your drinking water even after going through the treatment process — so your best defense is using a water filter at home. When choosing a filter, it’s a good idea to check out your local Water Quality Report to see what contaminants are in your water, then get a filter that’s certified to remove those contaminants.
Hopefully, this post helped you get a better idea of your water quality and steps you can take to stay hydrated and healthy. If you’re looking for a water filter but not sure which to choose, check out Aquasana’s wide selection of water filters certified to remove America’s top contaminant concerns.