Why is hydration so important for older people?
As we get older, our sense of thirst decreases, and our kidneys do not work as well. It may also be more physically difficult to drink. Certain conditions, such as dementia and acute illness increase the likelihood of becoming dehydrated.
What are the effects of not drinking enough fluid?
Becoming dehydrated affects our health, quality of life and wellbeing. Dehydration is a common cause of hospital admission and can slow down recovery time. Dehydration can also:
• Lead to infections, such as urinary tract infections
• Make the symptoms of other illnesses worse
• Increase the risk of constipation, falling and developing pressure sores
• Reduce mental performance (e.g., memory, attention, reaction times) and increase
Signs of dehydration
You’re dehydrated when you lose more fluids than you have consumed. Feeling thirsty is usually
a good indication that you have become dehydrated. If you struggle to recognise when you
should have a drink, other signs of dehydration include:
• strong-smelling urine (pee)
• feeling dizzy or lightheaded
• feeling tired
• dry mouth, lips or eyes
• bad breath
• urinating less than usual