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We all know we need water to live.  Most humans cannot go more than three days without water.  Feeling thirsty is a natural human phenomenon that we take for granted.  But older individuals do not sense thirst as quickly and tend to not drink enough water, which can result in dehydration. Consequently, attention to fluid status and vigilant hydration are essential for elderly health.


imagesMoreover, the kidneys of the elderly do not concentrate the water as effectively so they secrete more water .  This explains why the elderly often have to go to the bathroom so many times.  And due to disability and decrease in sensation, many elderly become incontinent.  The elderly also tend to retain less water in their system than younger people.  So when they run a fever, sweat or have diarrhea, they do not have the reserves to handle their dehydration.  Many elderly find it difficult to get up and get water to drink or mentally just forget to drink.


Caregivers face the challenge of encouraging the elderly to consume enough fluids. Most individuals can force themselves to drink 8 cups of water a day.  But that may be difficult for the elderly.  Fluid can come from fruit, popsicles, or ensure.  Watermelon and cantaloupe are two fruits high in water.  In the summer, the elderly may enjoy popsicles and ice cream and in the winter, soups and hot chocolate.  Coffee and tea tend to dehydrate so limit these fluids.  If the individual is urinating about five times a day and avoiding bladder infections they are probably getting enough fluids.

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