January 3, 2020

Senior woman at home drinking hot drink and smiling

Learn the facts about seniors and dehydration.

Did you know…approximately 50% of all older adults are chronically under-hydrated, based on a new study conducted at UCLA? Not just that, but seniors over age 65 account for the highest group of hospital admissions due to dehydration.

Dehydration can quickly sneak up on older adults, who frequently have a diminished sensation of thirst, who can experience medication side effects that can cause hydration problems, or who incorrectly think that drinking less will prevent incontinence issues.

Senior dehydration is extremely harmful, increasing the risk for health issues such as:

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

Dehydration is often identified by these symptoms:

Early stages:

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

Advanced stages:

  • Confusion and disorientation, such as difficulty with walking
  • Low blood pressure and weakened, faster pulse and breathing
  • Stomach bloating
  • Sunken, dry eyes
  • Skin that is wrinkled without having any elasticity
  • Worsened muscle cramps and contractions, and/or convulsions

While we commonly pay more attention to the issue of seniors and dehydration when the temperature is high, it’s critical for older adults to consume sufficient fluids all year long. A simple formula to find out just how much, on average, an older adult should drink each day is to divide the older adult’s body weight by three, and have him or her consume that many ounces of water. To illustrate, if a senior loved one weighs 180 pounds, he or she would require a minimum of 60 ounces of water daily.

Try these strategies so that the seniors you love remain healthy and hydrated:

  • Plain water is ideal, but think about other types of fluids, including soup, juice, fruits, and vegetables. That said, try to avoid sugary and caffeinated beverages.
  • Place bottled water or a small pitcher of ice water and a cup close to the older adult to remind him or her to sip on it throughout the day.
  • Test a variety of temperatures. It may be that a warmed cup of water is more enjoyable than an icy one. You can even try heating up juice and other beverages to see if they are more appealing, or offer popsicles.

The Continuum health care experts are experienced in imaginative approaches to help seniors stay hydrated, and in monitoring fluid intake to make certain enough fluids are consumed every single day. Give us a call at (314) 863-9912 to learn exactly how we can help enhance the health of cherished older adults throughout St. Louis and the surrounding area, right in the comfort and familiarity of home.