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Don’t Let Dehydration Drag You Down

By Renee Hansen, Public Relations Manager at Senior Services

Older adults are at a higher risk of dehydration than any other age group. During the hot summer months, don’t let dehydration get the best of you. Use the information below to make sure you get the fluid your body needs.

Why is it important to drink enough fluids?

  • Water is the nutrient needed in the greatest amount by your body. Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough water to function well. Water has many roles in your body, including:
  • Boosts physical and mental endurance
  • Prevents constipation
  • Decreases risk of infection, including pneumonia and urinary tract infection
  • Maintains healthy skin
  • Prevent cramps and stiffness in joints

Why do older people get dehydrated?

  • Older adults are at risk for dehydration because:
  • Body water stores are lowered so there is less water in the body
  • Sense of thirst decreases so there is less desire to drink
  • Medications (for example: diuretics and laxatives) alter body fluid levels

Warning Signs of Dehydration

  • Dry mouth or eyes
  • Tired or fatigued
  • Confusion
  • Decreased urination or dark colored urine
  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Dizziness when changing positions
  • Skin is less firm than usual
  • Sunken eyes or vision changes
  • Fever, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Higher breathing and pulse rates
  • Thirst

How much liquid do you need?
To stay healthy, it is important to take in enough liquids. Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough water to function well. Experts recommend 6-8,
8-ounce glasses of liquid per day.

What You Can Do

  • Drinking 6 or more 8-ounce glasses of non-caffeinated fluid a day may sound difficult
  • but here are some ways to help.
  • Try a variety of drinks: Milk, juice, flavored drinks such as lemonade or sports drinks, decaf coffee, tea and soda
  • Try water with a flavor. Add lemon, orange, lime or cucumber slices
  • Drink a full glass of water when you take your medicines
  • Keep a glass of water within easy reach
  • Have water on the table when you eat a meal
  • Eat fruit ices, ice milk, sherbets, popsicles or Jell-O
  • Eat foods high in liquid such as soup, custard, watery fruits and vegetables, stewed fruit, yogurt

What health problems are linked to dehydration?
Vision problems, decreased mobility, dementia, incontinence, difficulty swallow-ing, depression or loss of interest in self-care, chronic diseases involving the kidney, heart or circulation and lack of balance are possible health problems of dehydration.

Keep in Mind

  • In very hot or cold weather your body needs more fluids.
  • When you are sick with colds or flu, your body needs more fluids.
  • When you drink alcohol and caffeine drinks your body loses fluid.
  •  Drinking fluid can actually help strengthen bladder muscles to decrease urinary accidents
  • Dehydration is the most common cause of hospitalization for people over 65