Dehydration: The most common fluid and electrolyte disturbance among the elderly population today.
Because more than 75 % of the human body is made up of water, staying hydrated is important to keep our bodies functioning properly and to avoid acidosis. Unfortunately, for a lot of seniors, the only time they drink water is to swallow their medicine, therefore becoming highly acidic which creates other health issues.
The human body is constantly in a state of losing water, even when sedentary. If fluids aren’t replaced, the body eventually does not have enough water available to perform the many vital bodily functions, such as improving blood flow and promoting metabolism. Water also promotes healthy digestion and the elimination of acidic-waste and toxins. Dioxins, pollutants, food additives and carcinogens are all flushed out of the body by healthy functional water. Proper hydration empowers the immune system and moistens areas of the body where bacteria and viruses can invade most easily. People who do not drink enough good water will lack energy and get sick more easily.
As we get older, body water content decreases, the risk for dehydration increases, and the consequences become more serious. Dehydration is a frequent cause of hospitalization of seniors and one of the ten most frequent diagnoses responsible for hospitalization in the United-States.
It’s common for seniors to deliberately restrict their fluid or beverage intake if they are suffering from incontinence and embarrassed about having to use the restroom frequently. Often confused or suffering from dementia, it’s a concern that seniors do not remember if they’ve consumed any water in a given day.
Dehydration is among the most common concerns in assisted living facilities. In one study, the fluid intake of 40 nursing home residents was monitored. The researchers found that nearly all of these patients were inadequately hydrated. Furthermore, the study found that 25 of the 40 patients had illnesses which may have been caused by or related to their dehydration issues. Seniors who live alone or in nursing facilities may not have the mobility to get beverages by themselves and may be embarrassed to ask for help. In addition, many medications may affect fluid status and water intake and healthcare professionals may be unaware that a patient’s fluid intake has declined. For example, an older adult taking diuretic-type medication and not replacing the extra fluid lost, is also is at higher risk for dehydration.
Fortunately, dehydration is a manageable disease, and adults who know the warning signs and preventative measures are in a better position to help keep seniors better hydrated.
Elderly dehydration symptoms, from mild to severe:
- A dry and sticky mouth
- Dry Skin
- Decreased urination and urine output
- Confusion and irritability
- Lack of sweating
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid breathing
- Unconsciousness or delirium
As a caregiver, it’s critical to become more aware of the need for hydration with senior care.
Offer water more frequently and keep water nearby and visible for seniors. Also, encourage at least 8 to 10 ounces whenever medication is taken.
Drinking Electrolyzed Antioxidant Rich Living Water can help maintain fluid balance for everyone, particularly for seniors at risk to the damaging effects of dehydration.
For more information on healthy hydration, contact Hydrate Global. [email protected] 407.342.1474