Ensuring Proper Hydration of the Elderly This Summer

Senior Staying HydratedMultiple risk factors pertaining to dehydration exist among the elderly. If seniors do not receive the proper hydration, they may experience poor health, the loss of their functional statis, and their quality of life is drastically reduced. Loved ones and caregivers play a highly important role in ensuring opportunities are available for an elderly loved one or patient to experience optimal hydration. Temperatures are warming up. Before too long, summer will arrive. Continue reading this guide to learn how you can ensure the proper hydration of the seniors that you love and/or care for on a daily basis.

Fluid Requirements of the Body

The first step to ensuring proper hydration of the elderly – especially during the summer months – is to understand the fluid requirements of the body. While it is true that water contains no calories, it is considered to be an essential nutrient for sustaining life. It has been estimated that anywhere from 45% to up to 75% of our total body weight is water – it all depends on how much fat our bodies contain. Not only is water the largest single component of the human body, but it is also used by every single cell within the body and assists in the following:

  • The Regulation of the Temperature of the Body
  • To Ensure the Integrity of the Skin
  • To Provide Lubrication to the Joints
  • To Transport Nutrients and Other Substances Through the Blood
  • To Promote the Regularity of the Gastrointestinal Tract
  • To Stabilize and Cushion the Internal Organs
  • To Prevent the Accumulation of Fluid in the body

Fluid Loss

According to studies, each of us loses approximately two or more liters of water on a daily basis. This occurs as a result of breathing, sweating, urinating, and also through defecation. As a result, this water must be replaced through the intake of water.

Daily Fluid Intake

The “Daily Fluid Intake” is a term used to describe the total amount of water consumed each day. This includes drinking water and other liquids and food products. For women, the daily fluid intake recommendation is 91 ounces. For men, the recommendation is 125 ounces. This sounds like a tremendous amount – in terms of water consumption ONLY – but, it also includes fluid intake from other liquids and food products. The daily water intake – meaning water consumption ONLY – is one cup (or 8 ounces) for every 20 pounds in weight.

For example, if an elderly man weighs 200 pounds, he should be drinking 10 cups or 80 ounces of water a day. All other water-containing liquids and food products should be in addition to this to reach the daily fluid intake. In the case of the 200-pound senior make, he should drink 80 ounces a day of water and have an additional 45 ounces of fluid intake. This could include juices, fruits, and more. All in all, the total should be 125 ounces for this individual.

Practical Methods for Increasing Fluid Intake

In order to ensure proper hydration for the senior that you love and/or take care of this summer, follow the methods outlined below:

  1. Most senior citizens have already received information from their healthcare provider on the proper diet that they may consume. For example, many may have to have a cardiac diet due to underlying health issues, a diabetic diet due to diabetes, and/or a diet low in protein due to kidney failure. You should ensure that they consume water and other water-containing liquids based on their dietary needs.
  2. Once you determine which liquids/beverages are safe for the senior, provide them with multiple options that they may choose from. This way, they feel as if they have some level of independence and that which they drink and they have a variety of choices to avoid boredom.
  3. If you find that the senior does not drink as much or does not seem to want much, you should make an appointment with their healthcare provider immediately. Not only will this address any potential underlying issues, but if the senior is becoming dehydrated, the professional may also focus on rehydrating the individual.
  4. Create a fun-filled, senior-safe “happy hour”. During this time, create smoothies, mocktails, and provide other types of refreshments that include high water content (such as watermelon). Not only will the individual have a lot of fun, but their water intake will increase.
  5. Ensure that the senior has access to a wide variety of fruit and vegetable juices that are bright, colorful, and full of flavor.
  6. Stock up on standard fruits and vegetables that have a high water content that may be provided to the senior during snack times or refreshment times.
  7. Provide the senior with foods that have a very high water content on a regular basis. These include broths, soups, and cream of wheat.
  8. If necessary, help the senior with drinking liquids. If necessary, consult with their doctor on whether or not their drinks should be thickened to avoid choking and aspiration.
  9. If necessary, provide aids to help with drinking. An example would be a spill-proof cup that has handles.
  10. Encourage the senior to drink, but avoid nagging. Always show understanding of their situation and a high level of empathy


Dehydration in a senior may result in many health complications, cognitive deficits, and related problems. You should place an emphasis on learning as much as you can about hydration – including foods and beverages that contain the highest level of water content. If you know a senior that suffers from the inability or lack of desire to drink, experiences poor health, and/or suffers from dehydration, it may be time to consider additional care. Examples include assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care. For more information, contact us here at Beacon Senior Advisors today by calling the following number: 973-713-0096 or visit at www.BeaconSeniorAdvisors.com


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