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How Much Water Should a Senior Drink Daily?

The Importance of Hydration for Seniors

Staying hydrated is essential for those of all ages but even more important for seniors. Dehydration can cause lots of issues such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke, seizures, UTIs, shock, and other dangerous conditions or complications. It’s important for seniors to understand how to stay hydrated, symptoms of dehydration, and other details surrounding hydration as it is more difficult to remain hydrated as we age.


What is dehydration? 

An older woman drinking a glass of water

Simply put dehydration is “a harmful reduction in the amount of water in the body.” It can be caused by many different things like a general lack of water or fluid intake, sweating too much, fever, certain medications, urinating too much, diarrhea and vomiting, etc. For older adults, minor sicknesses can cause dehydration because we lose natural amounts of water in our body as we age.  


There are levels to dehydration: mild, moderate, severe. Mild dehydration can be reversed through drinking water or other fluids high in electrolytes. Moderate dehydration is a more serious problem that often requires medical attention. Signs of moderate dehydration in an adult can be lethargy, dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps, etc. A medical professional will provide fluids through an IV to monitor dehydration levels. 


For severe dehydration, signs include irritability or confusion, fast heartrate, sunken eyes, rapid breathing, dry skin, passing out, and more. Severe dehydration always requires medical attention in which one receives IV fluids. 


Factors Affecting Hydration for Seniors 

  1. Age: Due to a natural decrease in appetite and thirst, among other reasons, like medication side effects, body composition changes, and lack of ability to keep temperature regulated, we lose the ability to notice hydration and stay hydrated as we age. Dehydration can cause many health issues and even lead to hospitalizations, and often, it goes unnoticed in seniors. 

  1. Chronic Illnesses: Diseases and conditions like diabetes (uncontrolled or untreated) and kidney disease increase the risk of dehydration. Certain medications like those that cause frequent urination can increase the risk of dehydration as well.  

  1. Exercise or work outside: High temperatures cause us to sweat more, increasing our body temperature, which means we need more fluids. Sometimes, older adults cannot notice when they need more fluids because of sweating or physical exertion, meaning their hydration levels go unnoticed. 


This is not a comprehensive list of risk factors affecting hydration, but these three factors are important things to pay attention to for seniors. 


How Much Water Should a Senior Drink Daily? 

A senior adult male wearing earphones and a phone case around his arm, drinking out of a water bottle while on a run.

The big question is: how much water should a senior drink daily? According to the National Academy of Medicine, men aged 51+ (in the US) should drink 13 cups daily and women should drink 9 cups daily. Besides drinking water, there are other ways to get the water you need. For example, you can eat fruits and veggies that have a high-water content like cucumbers, celery, strawberries, tomatoes, and lettuce.  


Consider other fluid options like bone broth, electrolyte drinks, smoothies, etc. Additionally, healthy popsicles and Jell-O are sweeter options to achieve your daily water intake goal. 


Note: Factors like climate, activity level, and other medical conditions may affect individual hydration needs. 


How Home Care Services Can Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with maintaining their hydration or other aspects of their health, a Care Manager or in-home caregiver can help. Our Care Managers are professional healthcare experts with years of experience in senior care. Our caregivers are trained in-house and are overseen by our team of Care Managers and professionals. They provide non-medical in-home care like toileting, bathing, meal prep, companionship, and more.  

Contact us today to find out more by calling (865)-444-6787

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