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Hydration in Older People

Are you drinking enough water?

Do you know how much you should drink in a day?

Did you know that as we get older, it becomes even more important to make sure that we drinking enough and keeping hydrated?

A study looked into the views on hydration of elderly people. This was conducted after another study that showed nearly half the patients who were admitted with an acute stroke were found to be dehydrated. This would then cause them to have significant impairment following it.

Dehydration is thought to affect between a third to nearly half of frail older people. 

Researchers concluded that, while interviewees were somewhat aware of public health messages on hydration, many misconceptions existed such as:

Thirst is not a good or reliable indicator of when you need to drink – in fact it probably means that you are already dehydrated.

Many people believe that only water on its own counts – this is untrue – any fluid such as tea, juices all count

Many do no link hydration to good health and are unsure of how much to drink.

How much water should you drink?

Older women are advised to drink 1.6 litres a day and men 2 litres daily.

As we get older our appetite for food and drink is reduced, so the advice is to drink regularly even when not thirsty.  You could fill a bottle(s) with the amount you need to drink so you can keep track during the day.

You should drink what you enjoy!

Another way would be to build drinking into daily routines – for example when taking tablets.

A fear that many older people have, that is a barrier to drinking correct amounts of fluids, is of incontinence or difficulty getting to the toilet. Addressing these areas is of paramount importance.

Feeling empowered to drink more water

Please check that your elderly family and friends are drinking enough, as is important for their health.  Spend time finding out what their thoughts are, and what fears they may have. Then, work with them to find solutions that they are happy with.

This article was written by Karen Robinson, formerly a Registered Osteopath.