Are You Drinking Enough Water?
Senior citizens are at increased risk of dehydration because of conditions associated with aging.
Many senior citizens do NOT drink enough water every day.
- Due to the normal aging process, many senior citizens have a diminished thirst sensation. That is, they cannot tell when they are thirsty.
- People who have medical conditions such as incontinence or difficulty urinating may drink less water as a means of avoiding having to use the bathroom. This is not healthy!
- Many medications must be dissolved in water. If a person does not drink enough water, the amount of medication in their body can actually increase. This results in medication side effects.
People who do NOT drink enough water may suffer from:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Increased heart rate
- Dizziness (especially when moving from a lying or sitting to a standing position)
- Dry skin
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Increased risk for kidney stones
Diuretics ("water pills") do NOT cause the water you drink to be immediately lost.
- That is, the water you drink goes into your blood stream in order to maintain the correct amount of blood in your body. Diuretics, on the other hand, cause water to be eliminated from parts of the body where water is not normally found in large amounts such as the ankles and legs (edema).
Beverages that contain caffeine are NOT good sources of water!
- Caffeine causes the body to lose water. Certain brands of soda, coffee, and tea contain caffeine. If you enjoy drinking these beverages, considering trying a decaffeinated brand.
- Senior citizens should consume 1? to 2 quarts of noncaffeinated fluid each day. This equals about 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of water.
Try one of these tips:
- Every morning fill up containers that will hold a total of 2 quarts of water. Drink water throughout the day so that the containers are empty by evening.
- Keep a tally sheet on your refrigerator or bulletin board. Each time you drink a glass of water, mark it down on the daily tally sheet.
- Drink water at the same time each day.
This brochure was created for Care Wisconsin by Lisa A. Lattin
(Nursing Student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison), December 2002.