Dehydration in Elderly Adults – Why It Happens and How to Prevent It

Happy senior woman drinking coffee

Do you know…almost half of all older adults are chronically under-hydrated, as reported by a new scientific study conducted at UCLA? Not just that, but elderly adults over age 65 represent the highest category of hospital admissions as a result of dehydration.

Dehydration can easily sneak up on older adults, who usually have a reduced sensation of thirst, who can experience medication side effects that cause hydration problems, or who incorrectly think that drinking less will lessen incontinence issues.

Senior dehydration can be extremely harmful, raising the risk for health concerns including:

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

Dehydration is generally detected according to the following symptoms:

Early stages:

  • Reduced amount/darker-colored urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Feelings of weakness, dizziness, and/or exhaustion
  • 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 any elasticity
  • Intensified muscle cramps and contractions, and/or convulsions

Although we frequently pay more attention to hydration if the temperature is high, it is essential for older adults to drink sufficient fluids all through the year. An easy formula to determine how much, on average, a senior loved one should drink on a daily basis is to divide the older adult’s body weight by 3, and have him or her consume that many ounces of water. For instance, if a senior loved one weighs 180 pounds, he or she would need to have a minimum of 60 ounces of water every single day.

Try these strategies to ensure the seniors you adore stay healthy and hydrated:

  • Plain water is ideal but consider other sources of fluids such as 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, near the older adult to prompt him or her to sip on it through the day.
  • Test a variety of temperatures. Often times a warmed cup of water is more comforting than an icy one. You may want to try warming up juice and various other beverages to find out if they are more appealing, or offer popsicles.

The experienced in-home caregivers at Heaven At Home Senior Care are experienced in imaginative approaches to help older adults stay hydrated, and in monitoring fluid intake to make certain sufficient fluids are consumed each day. Reach out to us at 866-381-0500 in order to learn how we can help enhance quality of life for senior loved ones with our specialized home health care Plano, TX and the surrounding areas depend on for quality senior care right within the comfort and familiarity of home.