Dehydration – The Most Common Diagnosis in Hospital Admissions

Getting seniors to drink water is very difficult.  Tea, Coffee and sodas do not count.  As a Geriatric Care Manager, I have accompanied many seniors to the hospital and watched multiple staff members try to draw blood out of a dehydrated senior.  The veins are flat and it ends up being a painful experience.

Seniors also have to go to the bathroom more than others.  It may be one of the reasons they do not want to drink water as it adds to the number of times they have to visit the bathroom.  If they have a problem with urinary incontinence, this can add to the problem.  However, not enough liquids can contribute to urinary tract infections which are very common in older adults.

To encourage seniors to hydrate, have water available in an easy to use drink container.  Home health or family caregivers can offer the individual water on a regular basis.  Make sure beverages are not sugar laden or containing caffeine as caffeine acts as diuretic.  It is not important that they drink large quantities but that they drink small amounts on a regular basis.

Since water keeps everything moving in the body, it will contribute to overall health and aid in having regular elimination and bowel movements.  It may also contribute to clearer thinking.  Keeping an elder hydrated will preserve their overall well-being.

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