Seniors often tend to drink less fluid than people who are younger. Dehydration is common in older adults, and it can cause health issues over time.
Seniors who don’t drink enough fluids can experience a wide range of symptoms, including lower blood pressure, confusion, and weakness. Proper hydration is extremely important because it may be necessary for some medications to work properly.
Why Do Seniors Experience Dehydration?
Dehydration can be caused by many factors, but the most common for seniors include:
- Side effects from medications
- Episodes of diarrhea or vomiting or having an acute illness that causes these challenges
- A decreased sense of thirsty therefore taking in fewer liquids
- Decreased ability for the body to naturally balance fluid levels
- Changes in kidney function effective fluid and electrolyte balance
- Resistance to drinking enough liquids related to mobility problems and difficulty managing frequent trips to the bathroom.
The Right Amount of Water for Seniors
Each of us has a different requirement, but there is a general rule for adults of all ages. Take a third of your body weight in pounds, and then drink that number daily in ounces of water. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume about 50 ounces of water a day – which is about six 8-ounce glasses of water.
Seniors may need more – or less – depending on their overall health. Consult with a medical professional, who will take into consideration any medical conditions as well as prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications a senior may be taking.
More Than Water
You do not have to drink only water to stay hydrated. Many foods have high water content like melons, berries as well as numerous other fruits and vegetables. Most seniors didn’t grow up carrying a water bottle around and water doesn’t have any flavor, so you might discover it’s easier to help a senior stay hydrated if you offer them something other than just plain water, consider non-caffeinated beverages and flavor infused water as well.
Often, seniors drink less water simply because it is not easily accessible. Make it easier for them to serve themselves by keeping a pitcher of water and a cup near them. Be careful not to make the pitcher too heavy.
Some seniors also become sensitive to temperatures as they age. They may not like cold or cool beverages – the best way to help a senior drink more liquids is to ask them what they like, how they like it and when it works best for them. Drinking more fluids earlier in the day reduces the need to get up more often at night to use the toilet.
The most important thing to remember is that our bodies get water from many sources. Consider offering a good variety moisture rich foods and a selection of fluids every day.