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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Lehr-Splawinski, Marketing Communications

Why seniors need to drink more water

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

Our body consists of approx. 60% of water, a fact. Staying hydrated at all times is crucial to all body functions and overall health. Being a vital nutrient, water helps with:

  • Ingestion and digestion of foods & supplements

  • Flushing out body waist

  • Lubricating organs & joints

  • Regulating body temperature

  • Pumping blood into muscles

Unfortunately, our vulnerability increases as we age. A decline in water intake can have very serious health consequences, especially for the elderly. Seniors already have a tendency to drink less water as it is a fact that the sense of thirst decreases during the aging process.

Seniors who suffer from any chronic health issues, illnesses, conditions, or diseases are more vulnerable to dehydration as they consume much less water than healthier seniors. Patients with Dementia or Alzheimers, Diabetes (that has either not been diagnosed or is poorly controlled), Depression, Parkinson's, Congestive heart failure & many more.

Some medications can result in lower water intake as they can cause various side effects like higher perspiration or diarrhea. Decreased mobility will also contribute to dehydration as it is harder for less mobile seniors to reach the water.

Very dry weather, increased temperature and a sudden heat wave can be catastrophic for seniors who don't hydrate properly and can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Symptoms of a heat stroke such as fever, vomiting & diarrhea can appear similar to dehydration symptoms: Some alarming first signs of dehydration:

  • Dry mouth & skin

  • Fatigue, weakness & dizziness

  • Feeling very tired & lethargic

  • Low blood pressure & a weak pulse

  • Rapid heart rate & breathing

  • Fever & vomiting

  • Urinary tract infection

  • Decreased urination & dark yellow, smelly urine

  • Constipation or Diarrhea/persisting

If untreated, dehydration in the elderly will cause severe and damaging health issues and can result in death. Always ensure to call 911 immediately as dehydration can also sometimes exhibit more serious underlying health conditions. In most cases, dehydration in seniors will lead to hospitalization to help immediately manage & address issues such as:

  • Hypoglycemic shock (occurs when losing more than 15 percent of your body's blood or fluid supply and one's heart function is impaired).

  • Weakness that leads to increased fall risks

  • Memory issues

  • Increased Confusion (Delirium)

  • Diarrhea or Constipation

  • Decreased organ function & much more.

It usually can take about 36 hrs. to replace orally water and electrolytes in the body. IV infusions are most helpful for quick re-hydration in the hospital. Severe dehydration requires proper medical emergency treatment in the hospital and needs to be resolved properly by a Physician. The seniors Family Physician is the best reference source to get customized dehydration prevention techniques based on a person's specific health situation. To help an aging loved one with water intake, try some fruit-infused water recipes. Fruits & veggies add a wonderful tasty sense to water and make it more appealing to drink. The recommended water intake for seniors is a minimum of 6 -8 glasses/day.

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