The Importance of Hydration for Senior Health

The Importance of Hydration for Senior Health

Water is the most fundamental element of human life and it is the most critical factor determining the survival of all our planet’s inhabitants. 

Scientific studies have shown that 70% of the human body is made out of water (Plasma). A slight decrease in the water levels within the human body can result in a devastating catastrophe. That is why you will always hear your elders say things like “Don’t forget to drink a lot of water” or “Make sure you stay hydrated”. 

But it’s not like you need to consciously drink water after certain intervals. Right? Wrong! Drinking water only when you are thirsty doesn’t mean you are staying hydrated. In cold weather, for example, it can be easy to forget to drink water for long intervals which can cause dehydration without you even noticing or feeling thirsty. 

I have compiled this blog to protect seniors from dehydration that can jeopardize their health. I will cover the causes of dehydration and its symptoms in seniors, highlight some of the benefits of staying hydrated, and outline ways to ensure one stays hydrated all the time. Let’s dive in. 

Causes of Dehydration in Seniors

The most prevalent cause of dehydration in seniors is inadequate water intake, meaning they are not just drinking enough water that their body requires for healthy functioning. 

This habit of not being consistent with drinking gets even worse for seniors living in areas with hot and humid climates, particularly the Arabian peninsula, Africa, and Asia regions. 

However, even in Canada, hydration is a serious issue, as during the colder winter months, even though you are not sweating that much you are not necessarily feeling thirsty either. This reduced water intake can cause bodily harm without you even realizing it. 

During warmer weather, the human body sweats through homeostasis to maintain a temperature of 40 degrees. In this process, excessive sweating reduces the internal water count to cool down body temperature. 

If you are sweating more water than you are taking, or you aren’t drinking enough water in the first place, severe dehydration can occur. 

The Symptoms of Dehydration

One must be aware of the symptoms of dehydration to take the necessary course of action in time and to avoid further damage. 

Signs of dehydration include being thirsty several times during the day, feeling tired more than usual, and feeling dizzy even when no physically demanding task or other intense activity is done. 

Urinating less often than usual and having dark-coloured urine with a noticeable strong smell is also a tell-tale sign of dehydration. 

Recommended Hydration Levels

Now that we have established the causes and symptoms of dehydration while highlighting the detrimental consequences; the next intuitive thing is to know the perfect hydration levels that a person must keep in mind. 

According to the Harvard Medical Journal, the recommended quantity for avoiding dehydration in a healthy adult is 15.5 cups of water per day for men and 11.5 cups per day for women. 

Although this is the standardized amount of water consumption a healthy senior requires, one shouldn’t deny the science of natural factors and how they all contribute to hydration levels. 

The amount of water needed per person is highly dependent on their body mass, activity, prior medical conditions, and the climate they are living in. Therefore, it is highly suggested to consult a nearby medical physician for clear guidance. 

Eating Foods Rich in Water

Most often, people skip drinking water simply because it doesn’t please their taste buds due to its tasteless properties. Instead, they opt to drink things like pop and soda to quench their thirst. However, drinking pop doesn’t help you stay hydrated, on the contrary, it can lead to dehydration and many other health problems.

If seniors don’t like the taste of water or drinking too many liquids there are ways around that. They can always mix the water in with flavors that are rich in nutrients and minerals. Seniors can also eat foods rich in water levels to help complement their daily water intake. 

On the top of the list of foods rich in water is the aptly named watermelon. It is the only food you need to meet all your hydration necessities. The blazing red colour of watermelon is packed with nutritional benefits, and the fruit itself is 92% water. 

Seniors who prefer low sugar-calorie food should eat cucumbers in their daily routine because this vegetable has 96% water content. On top of that, cucumber contains vitamin K, which helps transfer calcium to bones, and promotes brain health. 

Other foods containing high water quantities include broccoli, peaches, strawberries, mushrooms, plain yogurt, lettuce, bell pepper, broths, soups, celery, and water-soluble fruits such as oranges, pineapple, and tomatoes. 

5 Hydration Tips for Seniors

Remembering to drink water after periodic intervals can be tricky for seniors, especially those who have mobility issues or live with Alzheimer's or Dementia. 

To help ensure they stay hydrated here are some easy tips to follow: 

  • Avoid drinking too much coffee and tea, as these hot beverages have a diuretic effect, meaning that they cause the biological body to pass urine more often. Instead, drink a glass of water before grabbing that tea or coffee.
  • Another important tip is to consume a glass or two of water before going to bed. During sleep, the body's water retention rate is relatively higher, and it can hold a lot more water which can help rejuvenate the body as you sleep. 
  • Similarly, you should drink water upon waking up as overnight your body would have used up the water you had consumed before you went to bed. 
  • Always drink as much water as possible when taking medications. Depending upon a senior’s medical schedule, make sure that they drink plenty of water every time they take their medications. Not just a sip or two to down the pills, but at least a glass or more.
  • Set up reminders around the house if needed to help remind seniors to drink water. Staying hydrated posters and reminder notices placed around the house can be a great way to encourage seniors to drink more water.

The Effects of Dehydration on Senior Health

Dehydration can cause severe health problems, especially in seniors. Dehydration can cause a decline in cognitive abilities such as focusing and carrying out mental functioning, low reaction ability, dizziness, slow memory response time, and an increased risk of falls. It can also cause constipation and liver problems.  

Seniors with dehydration can also develop poor skin health and pressure sores. Furthermore, long-term dehydration can result in kidney failure/injury and increase the chances of urinary tract infection. 

Senior Care With Northwood Intouch

As a growing number of seniors continue to live at home in Canada, it is important to ensure they are well looked after. Apart from helping them stay active and take their medications on time, caregivers must also ensure they are eating healthy and consuming ample amounts of water. Certain devices such as alarms, medication reminders, automatic pill dispensers, and more can all help with ensuring that seniors stay on top of their medication and dietary plans. 

For more information on medical devices that can help assist caregivers and seniors living at home contact Northwood Intouch at +1 (902) 492-3346 or email us at

The Importance of Hydration for Senior Health