We all know we are supposed to keep well hydrated. The NHS and other experts have been telling us for years that we should drink between 6 and 8 glasses of fluid each day.
But something that is less well known is that our risk of dehydration increases as we age.
Our body changes as we get older, and these changes can mean that we don’t feel as thirsty. This is even more acute if you have dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s disease or in people who have suffered a stroke.
In addition to just not feeling as thirsty, some medications (in particular diuretics and laxatives) can exasperate dehydration. And if your mobility is reduced in your old age then accessing fluids regularly can become more difficult.
Dehydration can have some serious consequences at whatever age we are. For elderly people the signs can be more pronounced; in particular increased confusion is often a big sign of the need to drink more. So, it is really important to focus on getting enough fluids each day as we age.
Fluids do not just need to be water, your favourite hot drink, a glass of squash, sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime, or even a glass of milk can all help to keep you hydrated.
If you are caring for an elderly relative or other loved one the NHS has some great tips to help keep the hydration levels up, such as:
- Make sure they drink during mealtimes
- Make drinking a social thing, like having a cup of tea together
- Offering food with high water content such as soups, ice cream, jellies or fruit such as melon
Hydration is also something that our carers will monitor when they are looking after our clients. We find that having a bottle or jug of fluids out during the day can be really helpful to get a measure of how much our client is drinking.
Our carers will also leave drinks out and accessible to help remind our service user that they should drink and they will always offer a cup of tea or coffee and a chat which can be often be the trick to getting another drink into the morning or afternoon.
For more information or resources on hydration the NHS website and the British Nutrition Foundation have lots of helpful ideas. Or if you would like to chat to us please get in touch with us on 0115 857 1001 or drop us a message via firstname.lastname@example.org