The Importance of Hydration in Seniors and How to Help Maintain Optimum Fluid Intake

hydration in the elderly - alaska senior care

Lack of hydration in the elderly can lead to severe health issues.

Did you realize…approximately 50% of all older adults are chronically under-hydrated, as reported by a new scientific study conducted at UCLA? Not only that, but seniors over age 65 account for the highest category of hospital admissions due to dehydration.   

Dehydration can easily sneak up on older adults, who often have a decreased sensation of thirst, who may experience medication side effects that cause hydration problems, or who erroneously think that drinking less will prevent incontinence issues.  

Lack of hydration in seniors is exceedingly harmful, increasing the risk for health concerns such as: 

  • UTIs 
  • Kidney stones and/or failure 
  • Blood clots 
  • Seizures 
  • Hypovolemic shock 
  • And many others 

Dehydration is often identified by the subsequent symptoms: 

Early stages: 

  • Decreased amount/darker-colored urine 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Feelings of weakness, dizziness, and/or exhaustion 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Irritation 

Advanced stages: 

  • Confusion and disorientation, such as problems with walking 
  • Low blood pressure levels and diminished, faster pulse and breathing 
  • Stomach bloating 
  • Sunken, dry eyes 
  • Skin that is wrinkled with no elasticity 
  • Worsened muscle cramps and contractions, and/or convulsions 

Even though we often pay more attention to hydration when the temperature is higher, it is crucial for seniors to consume sufficient fluids throughout the year. A straightforward formula to find out exactly how much, on average, an older adult should drink each day is to divide the senior’s body weight by 3, and take in that many ounces of water. To illustrate, if an older adult weighs 180 pounds, she or he would require a minimum of 60 ounces of water every single day. 

Try these strategies to ensure the older adults you love remain healthy and hydrated: 

  • Plain water is most beneficial, but think about other types of fluids, including soup, juice, fruits, and vegetables. However, eliminate sugary and caffeinated beverages.  
  • Place bottled water, or a small pitcher of ice water and cup, next to the senior to encourage him or her to sip on it through the day. 
  • Test assorted temperatures. Sometimes a warmed cup of water is more comforting than an icy one. You may want to try heating up juice as well as other beverages to see if they’re more appealing, or provide popsicles. 

The professional in-home caregivers at Midnight Sun Home Care are experienced in creative approaches to help older adults stay hydrated, and in monitoring fluid intake to make certain sufficient fluids are consumed every day. Call us at (907) 677-7890 to learn more about how our top-rated senior care in Anchorage and the surrounding areas can help improve the health of older adults, right in the comfort and familiarity of home. 

Archives