Water: Hydration for Elders

Doctors often comment to me that our clients are well-hydrated.  What does that mean and why is it important?

Think of the human body as a wet circuit.  Everything in our bodies needs water.  You've probably noticed most of us have become more focused on drinking water over the past few years.  People carry water bottles and every health and fitness web site talks about the importance of drinking enough water.

If we're dehydrated, our bodies aren't getting enough water.  Not drinking enough liquids - especially water - makes it difficult for our organs and systems to do their job.  

If a family member has dementia, they may not be able to articulate their thirst.  This is where charting comes in handy.  It's easy to use email or notes in a cell phone to keep track of daily intake.  Or set up a composition book as a daily diary to record how many glasses of water are taken in each day.  You can also record what percentage of meals are eaten, what time medications are taken, reactions to medications, activities, elimination, and mood or other important issues that occurred during the day.  We think we'll remember, but if we don't write it down we usually don't.

If you have a caregiver working with an elder in the home, make it mandatory that they record things so that you have a record of what went on.  This can also be taken along during doctor's appointments.

Offer water and watch to see the benefits.