Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! It’s necessary to say it three times because it’s so important for seniors. The most common cause of dehydration in seniors in inadequate water intake, but other factors like diarrhea, excessive sweating, diseases like diabetes, and even medication side effects can all contribute to dehydration. As the body ages, it becomes harder for it to regulate fluids as the kidneys’ ability to remove toxins from the blood declines rapidly in old age. Older adults’ kidneys need more water to concentrate urine, since they’re losing a lot of it. If they lose too much, dangerous consequences like a loss of consciousness, rapid but weak pulse and lowered blood pressure can occur.
Dehydration is easy to diagnose. Just pull up the skin on the back of a senior’s hand for a few seconds to see. If the skin does not bounce back to normal, this means that the skin turgor has decreased, and the person is dehydrated. Other dehydration symptoms include:
· Sunken eyes
· Inability to sweat or produce tears
· Rapid heart rate
· Low urine output
· Difficulty walking
· Dizziness or headaches
· Dry mouth
It’s important for your elderly loved one to drink water even if he or she isn’t necessarily thirsty. Studies show that as people age, people do not feel thirst as keenly like when they were younger. As a result, older people may not feel thirsty even if they are dehydrated. Because seniors take different medications and have different health issues, talk to their doctors to determine how much water they should consume each day. A good formula is to take one-third of the senior’s body weight in pounds and drink the equivalent number of ounces of water daily. So, someone who is 150 pounds should be drinking about 50 ounces a day as a good rule of thumb. Encourage seniors to drink frequently in moderate amounts. Studies show that just five 8-ounce glasses of water a day can even reduce the risk of fatal coronary heart disease among older adults.
Staying hydrated comes with advantages for seniors like:
· Improved brain function
· Improved urinary health
· Better digestive health
· Improved kidney health
· Enhanced metabolism
So give them some water to keep them healthy and happy!