Why hydration is so important for elderly people

As we age, it can be more difficult to stay hydrated, as our bodies retain less water, and the signs of dehydration are also often milder, meaning we may not feel thirsty until we are significantly dehydrated. Combined with the benefits of drinking the recommended amount of water each day, hydration is a key part of elderly care.

Boost physical and mental health

Several studies have shown that those who drink more water have healthier minds, which is especially important as we get older, as cognitive abilities can often slow down as we age. Even mild dehydration can impact the brain's ability to function to its full potential.

There's also a physical benefit, with research revealing that exercise is much easier for those who are well-hydrated. Drinking enough water can improve our endurance levels, lower the heart rate and speed up the recovery process of physical activity.

Perk up your mood

It has been proven that those who drink more water tend to report better moods than those who don't, meaning staying hydrated could be an important element of maintaining your overall wellbeing in later life.

Prevent illness

As we get older, and our activity levels and appetite decreases, we are at more risk of getting sick. Whether this is from a short-term illness such as a UTI or something more chronic like diabetes, ensuring that we are getting enough fluids each day can have a positive impact on our ability to fight off illnesses.

Of course, it's important to be aware of what we and our elderly loved ones drink, as not all fluids have the same health benefits. Alcohol, for example, isn't an effective way to rehydrate, while fruit juices often contain high levels of sugar and acidity, meaning they shouldn't be the main fluid to intake during the day.

When it comes to taking care of our elderly loved ones, it can often be difficult to encourage them to drink enough. However, there are ways you can increase the chance of them getting the right amount of fluids each day without causing them any additional stress.

  • Ensure there is a variety of soft drinks that are easily accessible for your loved one
  • Make sure they are getting enough fruit and vegetables in their diet, as these contain water. Cucumber, watermelon and tomatoes are especially good options
  • Experiment with different drinks at different temperatures

An important topic at Barchester, many of our homes will be highlighting the importance of good nutrition and hydration for National Nutrition and Hydration week this April. To find out more about maintaining good hydration for elderly people, or if you have any questions, do get in touch with your local Barchester care home, our teams are always on hand to help.