Seniors, Summer and Hydration: Preventing Dehydration in Aging Adults

Senior doing yoga outside

Drinking water is not something we think much about, yet it’s an essential ingredient for our good health. 

As they say, “Water is Life.” And for the lives of older Americans, hydration is especially important. Why? Because dehydration, i.e., a lack of sufficient water in the body, can be extremely dangerous for them.

Says Colleen Dwyer, RN, BSN, NHA, Executive Director and Administrator of Bryn Mawr Terrace, “Medical professionals say that, on average, younger people have 60-70% water content in their bodies, while seniors have only 50-60% or less. They warn that as we age, our body’s ability to maintain an adequate supply of water is reduced. As a result, adapting to changes in temperatures – especially higher temperatures – can be a major challenge for seniors.  

“Additionally, experts say that our sense of thirst becomes compromised as we age, making it more difficult to recognize the need to drink. Often, by the time an older adult feels thirsty, their essential fluids can be dangerously low.

“For all these reasons, we make sufficient daily hydration and nutritious meals a top priority for all of our residents at Bryn Mawr Terrace.”

The Vital Importance of Preventing Dehydration in Seniors

With warmer temperatures now here, it is essential for older adults and those who love them to be vigilant about the dangers of dehydration.

As stated in the article, “Hydration Tips for Seniors,” “As a family caregiver, it’s important to be mindful of the signs and symptoms and to communicate with a doctor or health professional if you notice red flags that could indicate complications from fluid loss.

“Picking up on the more subtle, early signs that a senior needs to up their fluid intake is crucial. Keep in mind that thirst is not usually a helpful indicator because a person who feels thirsty may already be dehydrated. Initial signs to look for include headache, constipation, muscle cramps, dry mouth and tongue, and sleepiness or lethargy. Urine color is another helpful indicator and should be clear or light yellow for someone who is properly hydrated.

“If severe dehydration goes unchecked, it can cause seizures due to electrolyte imbalance, a reduction in the volume of blood in the body (hypovolemic shock), kidney failure, heat injuries, and even coma or death.”

Useful Tips for Keeping Older Adults Hydrated and Healthy

The following hydration tips can help you keep the older adults in your life hydrated, healthy and more energetic.

  • Know the minimum daily requirement – Six to eight glasses of water a day is the recommended daily amount of water and fluids for those that are not on a restricted-fluid diet. 
  • Drink up when rising – Encourage your older loved one to drink an eight-ounce glass of water when they wake in the morning. Doing so will help them start the day in a healthy way. 
  • Schedule drink breaks throughout the day and make water readily available – Make drink breaks part of your older loved one’s daily schedule and make it easy for them to help themselves to water. For example, you can place a pitcher of water or bottled water with a glass near their favorite chair – indoors or outside. 
  • Add some flavor – Water isn’t the only means of preventing dehydration. If your loved one doesn’t like plain water, try flavored water or juices to encourage them to drink. Popsicles, smoothies, sports drinks and milkshakes are other tasty ways to increase hydration.
  • Try hydrating foods as well – Many fruits and vegetables also contain a high percentage of water and are good sources of hydration. Consider offering your older loved one hydrating foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, oranges, cucumbers, celery and tomatoes. 
  • Try fluids at different temperatures  To provide some variation in their daily hydration regimen, try offering your senior loved one some warm soup broth as a savory change of pace.   

Proper hydration is critical to the health of all seniors, so make it a priority now that the warm weather months have arrived!

For more helpful senior living and senior care information, we invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior health topics. We also welcome you to stop in for a tour to see for yourself why we’ve been rated “Best in Senior Care.” 

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, “Seniors, Summer and Hydration: Preventing Dehydration in Aging Adults,” we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as the individuals they are, all with their own unique life story. 

We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived! 

Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), 

offering a range of services – including short-term rehabilitationtraditional nursing careindependent living, personal carememory carerestorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing. 

For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at 610.525.8300 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.


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