Causes and Symptoms of Dehydration in Older Adults

A glass of water

As we age, our bodies undergo a variety of changes. Seniors can become deficient in nutrients, while others may harm their senses and quality of life. As we age, our bodies may lose the ability to recognize natural feelings like hunger and thirst. As a result, your body may become dehydrated, and you may lose weight unintentionally. These consequences will likely be more severe as you get older.

Examples include:

  • A loss of muscle and a thinned skin
  • According to studies, the stomach acid-producing cells were damaged by chronic inflammation in 20% of older adults with atrophic gastritis.
  • Vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and magnesium may not be adequately absorbed if there is low stomach acid.
  • A reduction in calorie requirements is another challenge of aging. As a result, there is a nutritional dilemma. Some nutrients are vital for older adults, if not more, while eating fewer calories. You can meet your dietary requirements by eating various whole foods and taking supplements.

Dehydration is more prevalent in the elderly

Your body is composed of 60% water. As your body constantly loses water, mainly through sweat and urine, it’s essential to stay hydrated no matter your age.

Dehydration can also be a result of aging. The brain and other parts of your body detect thirst via receptors. However, when you grow older, these receptors may become less sensitive to water changes, making it harder to detect thirst. Moreover, your kidneys aid your body in conserving water, but they tend to decline with age.

Older adults suffer harsh consequences from dehydration

You can become tired and less able to absorb medicine if you are dehydrated for an extended time. Drinking enough water daily is therefore essential. Whenever possible, drink one to two glasses of water with each meal if drinking water is difficult for you. As an alternative, try carrying a water bottle with you.

Do seniors need electrolyte drinks?

There is a large market for sports drinks and electrolyte beverages, but they’re probably not necessary for most people. It may be more difficult for you to reach your health goals if you regularly ingest some high-calorie, high-sugar electrolyte drinks, primarily if they aren’t used for their intended purpose.

Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet to stay hydrated and obtain adequate electrolytes.

Generally, consuming between 68 and 101 ounces (2 to 3 liters) of fluids daily from food and beverages is recommended. Nevertheless, sometimes plain food and water aren’t enough when you’re at a greater risk of dehydrating. Electrolyte drinks may be necessary when exercising continuously for more than 60 minutes, in a humid environment, or if you experience diarrhea or vomiting.

You can tell if you’re dehydrated if you notice these signs:

  • Tongue and mouth are dry
  • Getting thirsty
  • Lethargic state
  • The skin is dry
  • Weak muscles
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Dark urine

Consult your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen.

It is usually sufficient for most people to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance by drinking water and eating a balanced diet.

If you are noticing your elderly loved one living on their own is experiencing dehydration regularly, it might be time to look for them to move to assisted living. We’d love to take you on a tour of our facility. Contact Three Tree Vista today!