The importance of hydration in the elderly
Today in our blog we will talk about the importance of hydration in the
elderly. As we age, the water content in the body decreases and the risk
of dehydration increases, and this can have very serious consequences.
Dehydration is directly associated with increased mortality rates among
older hospitalized patients and may precipitate emergency
hospitalization as well as increase the risk of repeated hospital stays.
process of aging is associated with various physiological changes that
may affect the ability to maintain water balance. These changes include
decreased total body water associated with loss of lean body mass,
decreased thirst sensation and decreased ability of the kidneys to
concentrate urine. Dehydration is the most frequent hydroelectrolytic
disorder in the elderly, also the chronic pathologies and
pharmacological treatments of the elderly determine a greater
vulnerability of this population to dehydration. For all this, it is
necessary to pay close attention to the intake of liquids from the
elderly. Older people lose too much water through their urine, even
though it does not remove many waste materials. Therefore, they will
need more water to excrete the same amount of urea or sodium. These
changes in homeostatic capacity are also modified by the presence of
some diseases such as hypertension, cardio and cerebrovascular diseases
or by the consumption of drugs. Decreased thirst may be the most
important factor, as it leads to a much lower fluid intake than in
earlier stages of life. Dehydration is associated with hypotension,
increased body temperature, mental confusion, headache and irritability.
In addition, lack of fluid may be the main contributor to constipation,
which is very common in older people, and whose treatment includes
increased consumption of liquids that stimulate peristalsis. In older
people water becomes a real necessity to which special attention has to
be paid and in many cases it is even necessary to prescribe its
consumption as if it were a drug.
What measures can we take to maintain good hydration in the elderly?
If you are in the care of an elderly person, you may be interested in
how you can maintain good hydration, so from Excelan Clinic, we have
decided to offer you these tips to help you achieve this:
- Offer fluids throughout the day. (Water, infusions, juices, broths, milkshakes, etc.).
- Make sure that the water is accessible throughout the day (on the
bedside table or next to the chair) with suitable containers for
- Encourage water consumption with medicines
- Encourage him to drink one or two glasses of some drink during the meal.
- Increase your intake of foods such as soups, fruits and vegetables
that contain 80% -90% water and are a source of essential nutrients.
- Offer your favorite drinks
- Monitor the temperature of the room where the elderly spend most of
the time, it is proven that an excess of temperature favors dehydration
and loss of fluids.
- Ensure that there is a minimum consumption of 1,5 L in periods where
the risk of dehydration is higher, for example when there are high
climatological temperatures or in certain pathologies.
Good hydration in the elderly, coupled with a balanced diet and
moderate physical activity, is critical to achieving a healthy