Hydration in Elders: More Than Just a
Glass of Water
By Rita Miller-Huey
(Page 2 of 2)
This is the elder who is cognitively impaired, and
possibly unable to drink without full assistance, or
those who may intentionally restrict fluid intake in the
hopes of decreasing the risk of incontinence.
Economic reasons. This may include the
lack of financial resources to maintain nutritional and
fluid intake, extreme or prolonged weather fluctuations
and the possibility of elder abuse.
How could you tell if your loved one might be becoming
dehydrated? Ask yourself if they have any of the above
mentioned risk factors. If they complain of nausea, are
lethargic, have headaches, vomiting or dizziness, these
could all be signs of dehydration. Call your doctor if
your loved one had any or all of these symptoms.
Keep track of how much your loved one actually
drinks in a day. A simple way to do this would
be to put two quarts of water in the refrigerator first
thing in the morning. Give all fluids for your loved one
from his or her special pitcher. By the end of the day,
they should have drunk most of the 2-quart pitcher. It
could be plain water, water with lemon or other fruit
juices made with water. Regular tea and coffee do not
count because they promote fluid loss. Decaffeinated
teas and coffees are OK (if your loved one will not
drink plain water or juices) because they are less
likely to promote urination. Foods that melt at room
temperature, such as gelatin or ice cream also have a
lot of water content. Serve foods with sauces, juices
and gravies - every little bit helps.
There are some diseases for which it is not appropriate
to offer so many fluids: congestive heart failure,
cirrhosis of the liver and kidney disease. However, for
most of us, young and older, the rule of thumb is to
drink, drink, drink to keep the body hydrated, and stay
away from the hospital and all the tubes and therapy
needed if dehydration does occur.