Dehydration in Seniors – Why It’s So Common and How to Help

senior woman at home drinking hot drink and smiling at the camera

Staying hydrated is important for everyone but especially for older adults.

Did you realize…roughly 50% of all older adults are chronically under-hydrated, as reported by a recent research study conducted at UCLA? Not just that, but older adults over age 65 represent the highest category of hospital admissions as a result of dehydration in seniors.

Dehydration can quickly sneak up on seniors, who usually have a reduced sensation of thirst, who may experience medication side effects that can cause hydration problems, or who mistakenly believe that drinking less will prevent incontinence issues.

Senior dehydration is extremely dangerous, increasing the risk for health concerns including:

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

Dehydration can be detected according to the symptoms below:

First stages:

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

Advanced stages:

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

Although we commonly pay more attention to dehydration in seniors when the temperature is elevated, it is important for seniors to consume sufficient fluids throughout the entire year. A quick and easy formula to determine just how much, on average, an older adult ought to drink every day is to divide the older adult’s body weight by 3, and have him/her consume that many ounces of water. To illustrate, if an older adult weighs 180 pounds, he or she would require no less than 60 ounces of water every day.

Try these tips to ensure the seniors in your life remain healthy and hydrated:

  • Plain water is most beneficial, but take into account other sources of fluids, including soup, juice, fruits, and vegetables. That said, avoid, sugary and caffeinated beverages.
  • Place bottled water, or a small pitcher of ice water and a cup, near the older adult to encourage him or her to sip on it throughout the day.
  • Try various temperatures. It may be that a warmed cup of water is more enjoyable than an icy one. You may also try heating up juice and other beverages to figure out if they are more appealing, or offer popsicles.

CareWorks Health Services, one of the top-rated home health agencies in Huntington Beach and the surrounding areas, is experienced in innovative strategies to help seniors stay hydrated, and in monitoring fluid intake to make certain sufficient fluids are consumed each day. Give us a call at (949) 859-4700 to find out how we can help improve the health of a senior in your life, right in the comfort and familiarity of home.