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Water Consumption and Dehydration Facts For The Elderly

- Thursday, May 06, 2010

The elderly are exceptionally vulnerable to dehydration and the negative (sometimes fatal) effects on health.  The common symptoms of dehydration (confusion, drowsiness, labored speech, dry mouth, and sunken eyeballs) often align with normal behavior thus making it dangerously difficult (if not impossible) to diagnose. The key is to educate, hydration awareness, and discipline.

The daily water consumption needs of the elderly are no different than that of the young.  The baseline recommendation is once cup of water for every 20 pounds of body weight (6-8 glasses / day).  Consumption quantity increases dramatically when considering summer heat and physical exertion levels in the summer heat.

Everyone should realize that when it comes to water consumption and the elderly, the less the elderly drink the less thirsty they become. This fact alone puts the elderly at much greater risk to dehydration.  Senior citizens are also at particular risk for dehydration because their kidney function have diminished to varying degrees.  Make sure that water is presented at every meal, made readily available throughout the day and night, and loving encouragement is provided to our loved ones who are not self-inclined to hydrate.   And it goes without saying that we provide hydration awareness and discipline as an uninterrupted service at all Spring Arbor locations.