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Seniors and Dehydration

“Chronic elderly dehydration is a common problem for many elderly patients in the United States”

Dehydration is a major concern for an elderly loved one. When you are younger you feel thirst much stronger than an elderly person. It is harder for them to get up and get a glass of water and some may just forget due to dementia. Also, the medications prescribed to seniors cause dehydration. As you get older, your kidneys don’t function as well. This means that they are not as able to conserve fluid.

There are many signs of dehydration in seniors.

  1. Confusion/ disorientation

  2. Drop in blood pressure

  3. Skin that doesn’t regain shape. This means if you gently pull on the skin and it does not bounce back.

  4. Not using the bathroom as often and concentrated/ dark urine.

  5. Tired and moody.

  6. In more severe cases, if diarrhea has lasted for more than 2 hours, has black or bloody stool, or has trouble keeping fluids down. Call 911

How dehydration can be treated.

Drinking water or a sports drink in mild cases. It was earlier discussed that seniors have some mobility complications. Therefore, keeping a bottle or glass of water next to the bed can be helpful. Reminding them to drink since they don’t feel thirst or the urge to drink as strongly. Even drinking when they are not thirsty is helpful. A person’s diet also affects hydration levels. Fruits, vegetables, and soups are mostly water based. Caffeinated beverages are dehydrating. However, tea and coffee have only a little caffeine so they wouldn’t have that much of an effect. Ultimately, everything must be done in moderation.


Texas, Elder Options of. “ Signs of Dehydration in the Elderly.” Texas Senior Care and Housing Directory,

“Elderly Dehydration – A Place for Mom.” Lifelong Learning: Making Education Accessible to Seniors,

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