Steps to hydration and health in older age
Posted: 7/5/2019 12:36 AM by
Just Better Care
Everyone knows staying hydrated is important. But as we get older, our ability to recognise thirst decreases and the health risks associated with dehydration increase.
Here’s our guide to recognising symptoms of dehydration and ensuring water intake is at the recommended level for optimal health benefits.
Human beings are about 60% water and we need to replace that water regularly, with about 6-8 cups of water daily, at least.
As we get older, the water in our body decreases, meaning we need to drink more water, more often. But often with medical issues or cognitive decline, remembering to drink the right amount of water becomes more difficult.
For older Australians, it is more serious than feeling a bit thirsty.
If left unnoticed, severe dehydration can lead to delirium, seizures, urinary tract infections, kidney stones and many more health complications.
Prolonged dehydration can put an older person at risk of hospitalisation, which may expose them to other health related issues and increase fragility.
While it can look different for everyone, in older people, symptoms include changes in urine colour, skin dryness, a rapid or weak pulse, dry mouth or an inability to sweat.
Ensure you are aware of these changes and seek medical assistance if symptoms persist or begin to worsen.
Steps to increase water intake
Here are some ideas to encourage an older person to drink more:
Just Better Care provides support through personal care, respite and lifestyle support for older Australians and people living with disability.
- Encourage them to drink small sips more often;
- Keep drinks where they can be seen and easily reached;
- Offer alternatives such as smoothies, ice blocks or sports drinks;
- Experiment with different temperatures, as some people may prefer ice cold water and others may prefer room temperature.