Dehydration is a common and potentially dangerous health issue for seniors. As we age, our body water content decreases as does our sensitivity to thirst. Plus many medications seniors take can lead to dehydration. Dehydration is especially dangerous for seniors because it can lead not only to health problems, such as urinary tract infections, constipation and kidney stones but also confusion, delirium, low blood pressure and weak pulse — even death. In fact, dehydration is one of the top reasons for senior hospitalizations. Dietitians recommend seniors intake 2 liters (9 8-oz. glasses) of fluid each day, but caregivers know this is easier said than done. Check out these seven tips for increasing your loved one’s liquid intake.
- Encourage seniors to drink throughout the day and make fluids easily accessible.
- Encourage seniors to drink the entire glass of water (or liquid) when he takes his medication.
- Encourage seniors to drink at least one glass of liquids with each meal as well as each between-meal snack.
- Keep water bottles or a pitcher of water available throughout the day and within reach.
- Encourage your loved one to eat more water-rich foods with meals or as snacks. Fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, carrots, honey dew, watermelon, cantaloupe and celery contain 80 to 98 percent water.
- Make drinking easier for seniors. Some seniors may require straws or cups with handles to drink. Make sure these items are available and within reach.
- Try liquids at different temperatures. Seniors may prefer hot tea, warm milk Popsicles or iced coffee.