Benefits of staying hydrated for elderly people
Updated: Jul 18, 2022
In the hot summer months, it’s important for older people to stay hydrated for a number of reasons. We all need to look out for the elderly people in our lives as dehydration, between 6% and 30% of people aged 65 years and older who have been hospitalized are dehydrated. Here at Vitamin C IV, we specialise in providing vitamins and fluids intravenously to help with a number of symptoms including dehydration, cancer therapy, post-operation therapy and end-of-life therapy.
In this post, we talk about elderly people and hydration and how we can help prevent dehydration with IV therapy.
Why is it so important to stay hydrated for the Elderly
The body is made up of around 60% water, drinking enough each day, helps regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Staying hydrated can improve sleep quality, cognition, and mood (Source). It’s recommended for women to drink 11 cups of water per day and for men to drink 16 cups a day.
The human body is designed to regulate its temperature, when it’s hot we sweat through our skin which cools the body. When we sweat (normally when it’s warm or you are exercising) we need to replace that lost liquid. Low fluid levels cause headaches, dizziness, feeling sluggish and tired and concentration levels dropping. Long-term effects of dehydration cause constipation and can be associated with urinary tract infections and kidney stones, so the importance of hydration is very apparent in the elderly.
The level of water in the body change depending on age, newborns have higher body fluid levels than adults. Older people have lower fluid levels, but hydration is very important for all ages.
Elderly people often don’t drink enough, this might be for a number of reasons but they often just forget to drink.
Hydration IV for the elderly
Dehydration for the elderly is a massive problem and it can have serious consequences for those who are older. Studies show that up to 40% of community-dwelling senior citizens may be chronically underhydrated. In some cases, it’s hard for doctors to diagnose whether they have had enough water or not. Below are some reasons why hydration is important and how elderly people can benefit from IV Treatment for dehydration.
Why dehydration is an issue for the elderly
When the body loses around 2% of its fluids it starts to become seriously affected. It’s common for elderly people to become dehydrated as when you get older your body stores less fluid, ageing also causes a weaker thirst response, so they may not even know if they are thirsty and need water. Also, kidney function decreases with age, meaning that seniors tend to lose more water in urine.
There are a number of other factors when it comes to elderly people and hydration:
Mediation: Some medications, as a side effect, can increase the risk of dehydration. Some blood pressure-related medication can encourage the body to get rid of water.
Mobility: Many elderly people have mobility issues, they might struggle to stand up or have painful arthritis. So they would rather go dehydrated than get up and make a drink if it causes them pain.
Body temperature: Aging causes a natural decrease in metabolic rate, which means seniors’ bodies might be unable to generate enough heat to maintain a “normal” temperature of 98.6 degrees. So an elderly person might be warm and not even know it, so they need more liquid than they realise.
Cognition: Some elderly people might have some kind of cognitive impairment, that might be memory loss or other issues, so they might not remember to drink.
Food: Some elderly people don’t eat much, or maybe they are fussy and only eat a certain number of meals. Some meals don’t have much liquid.
What are the symptoms of dehydration for the elderly
In order to prevent dehydration it’s important to know the symptoms, here are some signs that you or a loved one could be dehydrated.
Dizziness or feelings of lightheadedness
If dehydration is not promptly treated, more severe symptoms can develop. These may include:
The trouble with walking and balance issues
Dizzy spells and fainting
Diarrhoea and vomiting
When should you consider hydration via IV Therapy for the elderly
When it comes to dehydration in the elderly it can often be difficult to get them to drink enough. The mild symptoms of dehydration can normally be fixed by just drinking more but when it gets a bit more severe then an IV drip is better as it’s quicker and doesn’t require the patient to actually drink lots of water.
IV therapy is recommended when:
Severe dehydration – IV therapy skips the digestive system so they work a lot quicker than if you was to simply drink water. With severe dehydration, the quicker you get rehydrated the better.
Patients that can’t physically drink themselves – Often elderly people can’t actually drink much themselves. They might be too weak if they are reaching end-of-life care or maybe they aren’t very mobile so they can’t get up and make themselves a drink.
What other ways do IV therapy and hydration help the elderly?
Hydration and other IV treatment like Vitamin C IV can be of massive help to the elderly in a number of ways. Quickly getting the vitamins and liquids they need can help improve someone's life.
Hydration can help improve an elderly person's life: Staying hydration gives the body everything it needs, improving almost every aspect of someone’s life. improve digestive health, reduce the risk of constipation, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, minimize the risks of falling, and much more. Hydration may even reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and, in men, bladder cancer.
Help increase recovery time for illnesses: An elderly person might take longer to heal and recover from an illness or injury compared to a younger person. Vitamin C IV therapy helps with recovery, read more here, What are the benefits of IV therapy. You can also read more about IV therapy and hydration, here.