Drinking water is essential for our everyday health, so why are seniors not drinking enough? There are many conditions that seniors develop due to dehydration that aren’t recognized. Seniors need to drink more H2O.
Seniors Need to Drink More H2O
Around 40% of seniors who live in a community are chronically underhydrated. Underhydration is the final step before dehydration kicks in.
Dehydration caused a 5% increase in preventable emergency room visits between 2008 and 2012. People 65 and older have the highest hospital admission rates for dehydration.
How is So Much Dehydration Happening?
One of the most significant problems when it comes to battling senior dehydration is knowing whether they are dehydrated or not. There is no perfect way to figure it out.
Salivary osmolality could be used as a way for doctors to check hydration in seniors. It compares the ratio of water to certain chemicals that are naturally in saliva and is measured by using an osmometer. The device is noninvasive and only needs a sample the size of a teardrop.
A study published in SAGE Open Nursing showed the team taking urine samples from 53 adults at 2 different senior communities and an adult day care center in Los Angeles. They take samples twice a day, one day a week, over a 3 week period.
By measuring salivary osmolality, the team found that the participants had higher osmolarity, AKA greater dehydration, than younger people. Dehydration was higher in the morning than in the afternoon. It was also higher in those who couldn’t move around.
The team found that a big reason for the early morning dehydration is because seniors were afraid to have an accident overnight.
Health Issues Caused by Dehydration
Many health problems can be tied to dehydration. There’s the most obvious which is a urinary tract infection. But, if a senior stays underhydrated for a long period of time, any virus or bacteria they are exposed to are more likely to turn into an infection.
This can include UTIs, pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases. Seniors will be treated for the infection, but not for the dehydration.
Also, dehydration can cause falls in the morning.
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