The human body is approximately 75 percent water. Without this water, it can’t endure. Water is found inside cells, inside blood vessels, and between cells.
Dehydration is more than being thirsting. It is risky and can be fatal. There are many elders in our family, who may not make sure to drink enough, or who may have moved toward becoming physically weakened. What are the impacts of dehydration on the elders and what should be possible to prevent it?
What causes dehydration?
The main reasons for dehydration are not taking in enough water, losing a lot of water, or a mix of both. As we get older, the water content in our body reduces, which means we have to drink more often. In addition, medications can also imbalance salt and water in our bodies plus, the elder’s kidneys are less efficient so the urine holds more water. Therefore, elders need to drink more water to maintain the water balance in the body.
What are the effects of dehydration in elders?
For Elders dehydration can lead to:
- Low blood pressure
- Increased risk of fall
- Urinary tract infections
- Pressure sore
- Hyperglycemia in diabetes patients
- Longer wound healing times
How can I encourage our elderly loved one to drink more?
Here are some ideas to encourage an elderly person to drink more.
- Encourage your loved one to drink small drinks more often.
- Keep water where they can be seen and easily reached by elders.
- Offer a variety of flavors. Squash, flavored waters, green teas, and milk might taste more appealing.
- Add soda water to drinks to make them cheerful.
- Smoothies, Lemonades, and sports drinks are all suitable alternatives to water.
- Coffee and tea are also good in balance.
- Try-out with different temperatures. One person may love ice cold water, while another may prefer room temperature.
- Too many choices can be puzzling. Try offering a choice of only 2 options each time you offer a drink. (e.g., “Would you like Lemonade or tea?)
Many foods contain water. These foods have high water content and will aid with hydration:
Melon and watermelon
Oranges and grapefruit
What are the benefits of staying hydrated ?
- Staying hydrated can lead to a more independent life: With fewer falls, fainting your loved one can remain in their own home or care home for longer and spend less time in the hospital.
- Staying hydrated can lead to a more comfortable life: More fluid means less constipation and fewer Urinary tract infections.
- Staying hydrated can mean a longer life: Dehydration is serious alone if undiagnosed. It can also cause other conditions to be more serious, such as diabetes and wound healing.
- If your loved one does need hospitalization, for any reason, being hydrated means a faster recovery time, fewer pressure ulcers and a better chance of coming back to the home soon.
- Staying well-hydrated means a happier, healthier life!