It’s easy to assume that in a hot and humid country such as Singapore, drinking enough water would be ingrained in us from young.
However, staying hydrated for some of us is not so easy. We might even miss out on signs of dehydration because we don't always show obvious symptoms like dry mouth, dizziness, weakness, headache or fatigue.
In the elderly, signs of dehydration are even harder to detect. Did you know that almost 50% of our elderly are already dehydrated when they are admitted to hospital for something completely different?
But why do our elderly get dehydrated so often?
Well, our bodies hold less water as we age. The elderly also just don’t feel as thirsty as younger people do as their thirst signals are not so active.
They can also be:
- Taking medicines that may cause them to lose precious water and electrolytes from their bodies.
- Unable to move around and may need help to walk. As a result, they may feel embarrassed asking for help to get some water!
- Suffering from dementia or memory loss and may not remember to drink.
- Intentionally drinking less water due to a fear of having to pee frequently. This is especially common among those who have incontinence.
- They may have swallowing difficulties and cough while drinking water. Or they may require the use of a thickener which many tend to reject.
- They may have diabetes, kidney disease or tube feeding, which put them at a higher risk for dehydration.
The impact of dehydration can be severe. It can lead to kidney stones, urine tract infections, delirium, weight loss and ultimately death.
so what can we do about it?
- Drink small amounts of water more frequently throughout the day.
- Serve soups, milk, juices, fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in water. Limit tea, coffee and colas as they can cause the body to lose more water.
- If you or your loved one is suffering from incontinence, seek medical help to manage it properly so that you will be less likely to avoid fluids.
- Serve lots of hydration jellies which will replenish fluids and provide important electrolytes to the body.
Help you or your loved ones stay hydrated, healthy and happy.
Speak to us at Health Food Matters today, call 6250 2129.