Dehydration and Our Elders

In Health on May 5, 2012 at 3:49 am

With the warm weather upon us it is imperative we keep our Elders hydrated. As we age we get drier. Dehydration in our Elders often goes unnoticed until it is severe, however the complications that accompany dehydration can be avoided. Thirst plays a big role in elderly dehydration. Older persons do not feel as thirsty as they did when they were younger. Have you ever noticed an elderly person’s mouth and how it can look dry yet they are not thirsty? We ask why…

* Studies show they do not perceive thirst like they did when they were younger.
* The elderly get used to having “dry mouth”. Drinking more water will bring back some sensation.
* Over time as we start drinking less water the loss of thirst is our body’s way of dealing with the fact that water is not going to be consumed.
* The perceptions of thirst and hunger come from the same part of the brain. Thirst and hunger become confused in the minds of many older people; they eat when they should be drinking or drink when they should be eating.
* When our brains do detect thirst too many elders settle for a few ounces of water or sugary and/or caffeinated drinks instead of water.

I hear a lot of elders say they don’t like water. To get our elders to drink more water there are some good powder mixes with little or no sugar that will flavor the water.

Dehydration in our elders is something we can observe (in ourselves as well). Look at their skin, hair and mouth. Dehydration can have serious effects including confusion, dizziness, falls and even death. Given the fact that these symptoms are often mistaken for other health problems or “just because they are old” dehydration often goes undetected. If the elder in your life is experiencing some of these symptoms the solution may be as simple as getting more fluids into them. So let’s all drink to our health!


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