Numerous health studies stress the importance of maintaining good levels of hydration in older people and the consequences of failing to do so.
As we age, it can be more difficult to stay hydrated. Our bodies retain less water and the signs of dehydration are more difficult to spot or sense. As a result, we may not feel thirsty until hydration levels have dropped significantly.
Ensuring good levels of hydration is a key part of elderly care for various reasons:
To boost physical and mental health
Research has shown that those who drink sufficiently have healthier minds. This is especially important for older people, as cognitive abilities can often slow down as we age. Even mild dehydration can impact the brain’s ability to function to its full potential.
Studies also reveal that exercise is much easier for those who are well-hydrated. Drinking enough water can improve our endurance levels, lower the heart rate and speed up the recovery process of physical activity. So, if you are poorly hydrated, you are less likely to want to exercise and more likely to run out of energy quickly if you do.
To enhance your mood
It has been proven that those who drink more water tend to report better moods than those who do not. So, staying hydrated could be an important element of maintaining your overall mental wellbeing in later life.
To prevent illness and aid recovery
Good hydration not only helps many of those who fall ill to recover more quickly, it may often reduce the severity of illness or prevent us becoming ill in the first place. Some falls, pressure sores, urinary tract infections, for example, might all be avoided by keeping our fluids level topped up.
Whilst sipping water is the simplest way to take liquid on board, it is not always the most interesting. Therefore, we encourage Residents at the Chiswick Nursing Centre to drink the recommended levels of fluid by offering a range of tasty and healthy drinks including smoothies and blended juices or hydration fluids especially developed for older people or those who find it difficult to drink conventional fluids – perhaps those with eating or swallowing problems.
We also use a range of high fluid meals and food types to further ensure that everyone gets their recommended levels of fluid each day.
Our nursing team use new technology to constantly monitor fluid intake on all of our Residents – ensuring and encouraging higher levels of intake at especially hot periods and therefore ensuring that our Residents stay healthy and hydrated.
So next time you “raise a glass”, it could well be good for you – as long as there is not too much alcohol or sugar.