Do you realize…nearly half of all seniors are chronically under-hydrated, based on a recent study conducted at UCLA? Not only that, but older adults over age 65 account for the highest group of hospital admissions because of dehydration.
Dehydration can very quickly sneak up on older adults, who often have a minimized sensation of thirst, who can experience medication side effects that induce hydration problems, or who incorrectly think that drinking less will prevent incontinence issues.
Senior dehydration can be very unsafe, increasing the risk for health concerns such as:
- Kidney stones and/or failure
- Blood clots
- Hypovolemic shock
- And numerous others
Dehydration is usually identified by the following symptoms:
- Decreased amount/darker-colored urine
- Dry mouth
- Feelings of weakness, dizziness, and/or tiredness
- Muscle cramps
- Confusion and disorientation, such as difficulty with walking
- Low blood pressure levels and weakened, faster pulse and breathing
- Stomach bloating
- Sunken, dry eyes
- Skin that is wrinkled without any elasticity
- Intensified muscle cramps and contractions, and/or convulsions
Although we commonly pay more attention to hydration if the temperature is high, it is important for older adults to consume sufficient fluids all year long. An easy formula to determine how much, on average, an older adult should drink each day is to divide the senior’s body weight by three, and consume that many ounces of water. To illustrate, if an older adult weighs 180 pounds, she or he would require no less than 60 ounces of water daily.
Try these strategies to avoid dehydration in seniors:
- Plain water is best, but think about other sources of fluids, including soup, juice, fruits, and vegetables. However, abstain from sugary and caffeinated beverages.
- Place bottled water, or a small pitcher of ice water and a cup close to the senior to encourage him or her to sip on it during the day.
- Test different temperatures. Sometimes a warmed cup of water may be more enjoyable than an icy one. You may even try heating up juice as well as other beverages to see if they are more appealing, or provide popsicles.
The professional home health aides at Harmony Home Health & Hospice are experienced in creative techniques to help seniors stay hydrated, along with monitoring fluid intake to ensure enough fluids are consumed every single day. Call us at 1-877-463-3322 to find out more about our in-home care and hiring a home health aide in Salt Lake City or other surrounding areas. To see all of the areas that we serve, please visit our Service Area page.