Dehydration is the most common fluid and electrolyte concern for the elderly. Dehydration can cause urinary tract infections, medications toxicity, impaired cognition, increased falls, constipation, and acute confusion.
Early warning signs of dehydration are: dry skin, dizziness, fatigue, dark colored urine, headaches, dry mouth or nose, thirst and cramping. Many times older seniors can become so dehydrated that the classical signs may be misleading or absent. This situation may lead to hospitalization.
The body’s water amount can decrease by 6 liters in adults between the ages of 20 and 80 years old. With this loss the body is much more susceptible to dehydration. It is important to encourage elderly individuals to drink small amounts throughout the day. A recommended amount is five (8 ounce) glasses of water daily.
Drinking water helps maintain the function of kidneys and bodily fluids, helps energize muscles and keeps skin looking good.