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How to Maintain Proper Hydration in the Elderly to Avoid Dangerous Health Risks

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Ensure proper hydration in the elderly.


Did you know…nearly half of all older adults are chronically under-hydrated, according to a recent study conducted at UCLA? Not only that, but seniors over age 65 represent the highest category of hospital admissions due to dehydration.

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

Senior dehydration can be extremely dangerous, increasing the risk for health concerns such as:

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

Dehydration can be detected by the following symptoms:

Early stages:

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

Advanced stages:

  • Confusion and disorientation, including difficulty with walking
  • Low blood pressure and weakened, faster pulse and breathing
  • Stomach bloating
  • Sunken, dry eyes
  • Skin that is wrinkled with no elasticity
  • Worsened muscle cramps and contractions, and/or convulsions

While we often pay more attention to hydration in the elderly when the air temperature is elevated, it’s crucial for seniors to drink sufficient fluids all year long. A simple formula to determine how much, on average, an older adult should drink each day is to divide the senior’s body weight by 3, and have him or her consume that many ounces of water. For instance, if a senior weighs 150 pounds, he or she would require a minimum of 50 ounces of water each day.

Try these tips to ensure the seniors you love stay healthy and hydrated:

  • Plain water is best, but consider other sources of fluids, such as soup, juice, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid sugary and caffeinated beverages.
  • Place bottled water, or a small pitcher of ice water and a cup, near the senior to prompt him or her to sip on it throughout the day.
  • Try different temperatures. Sometimes a warmed cup of water is more soothing than an icy one. You can even try warming up juice and other beverages to see if they’re more appealing, or offer popsicles.

The professional providers of home care assistance in Birmingham, MI and the surrounding area at Relevar Home Care are adept in creative approaches to helping seniors stay hydrated, and in monitoring fluid intake to ensure adequate fluids are consumed each day. Call us at 888-493-3513 or contact us online to learn how we can help improve the health of older adults with our customized in-home care solutions for seniors.