Dehydration in Seniors: Causes, Symptoms, and Tips

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While anyone can become dehydrated, seniors, in particular, are more likely to have trouble with water retention. Because of this, it is crucial to be incredibly diligent when it comes to drinking water and other fluids. If you are interested in learning more about dehydration in seniors, then read on. We have compiled everything you need to know about water intake and ways to keep your hydration at an optimal level.

If you are looking for home health care in Philadelphia, don’t hesitate to contact Premier Home Care, Inc. Our dedicated staff and team of caregivers are excited to get to you and your family. We provide both non-medical and skilled services in all five counties surrounding Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

What Causes Dehydration in Seniors?

Several factors can lead to dehydration in seniors. The most common factors include not drinking enough fluids, declining fluid reserves, impaired kidneys, and even taking certain medications. 

Failing to Drink Enough Fluids

Some seniors fail to stay hydrated because they simply fail to drink enough fluids. Generally, men should be drinking around 3.7 liters of fluids a day, and women about 2.7 liters; however, water intake usually depends on body weight. Here is an excellent article on daily water intake for seniors based on body weight. If you find that your elderly loved one is not drinking enough fluids throughout the day, try flavoring their water with fruit for added taste. 

Declining Fluid Reserves and Impaired Kidneys

As a person ages, their fluid reserves can decline due to impaired kidneys. As our kidneys weaken, increased water can be lost through urination, resulting in less hydration. Because of this, seniors may have a more challenging time retaining water. Many seniors have to drink more water than they once did to counteract this. 

Medication Use

Another factor that can contribute to dehydration is medication use. Older individuals are much more likely to be taking medications than younger individuals. Many of these medications can result in increased urination and, therefore, can lead to dehydration. It is important for you, and those close to you, to be knowledgeable about the medications you currently take and what the side effects are. Take note if increased urination or loss of thirst sense is on the list of known side effects.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Elderly Individuals

We’ve discussed the common causes of dehydration in elderly individuals. Now, let’s discuss the most common symptoms. Some more obvious signs include dry mouth, dizziness, exhaustion, and muscle cramping. You might also find that your urine is darker and that you are urinating less than you usually do. Some of the more extreme symptoms of dehydration include rapid heart rate, mental disorientation, fainting, vomiting, and diarrhea. You might even struggle with walking and maneuvering your body in some cases. 

If you are experiencing some of the more mild symptoms of low hydration, drinking water and fluids will be the most helpful solution to help regulate your body. If you are concerned that symptoms have reached a more severe or unmanageable level, reach out to your doctor. Always stay preemptive when it comes to your health. Also, be sure to keep on top of your current medications and supplements and know if any may have side effects related to hydration. 

Ways to Stay Hydrated in Summer

Staying hydrated through the hot days of summer can sometimes pose a challenge. However, there are several things you can do to make sure you have enough water daily. 

Keep a Bottle of Water on You

Our first tip is to get in the habit of keeping a bottle of water on you. Having water in your direct proximity will almost certainly increase the chances of drinking it. You are likely to run across places where you can regularly fill up, and you won’t have to spend money on disposable water bottles when you get thirsty. 

Keep Outdoor Activities to a Minimum

The summer sun can sweat the fluids out of you in a hurry. Because of this, you may want to keep outdoor activities to a minimum if you’re looking to protect your hydration. If you are going to do things outside, it is best to do them in the morning or at night, when humidity levels are low, and the sun isn’t at its full strength. 

Eat Foods Good for Hydration

Another tip for increasing water intake is to eat foods that are good for hydration. Foods with high water levels include everything from melons to oranges to lettuce to cucumbers. Incorporating high water content foods into your meals is a great way to get added hydration when drinking lots of water can get redundant. Adopting this habit will go a long way toward keeping you hydrated.  

Another option for getting your daily dose of H20 is to eat hydration gummies. Hydration gummies are specifically designed to provide the body with hydration, and there are all types of options online. 

Fun Indoor Activities for Seniors

Limiting your time outdoors is a good strategy for retaining hydration during those hot summer days. You don’t need to go outside to have a good time, and there are plenty of activities you can do indoors! Join your local community center for indoor swim exercise groups, gym classes, and indoor pickleball

Staying Active While Maintaining a Healthy Level of Hydration

It is crucial to stay optimally hydrated and adjust your water intake based on your level of physical activity. Getting the right amount of physical activity while maintaining proper hydration is indeed a balancing act. 

One of the best ways to stay hydrated on workout days is to drink water before engaging in your physical activities. This will help you combat the water loss that occurs during exercise. Try to drink at least 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before the activity begins. Another tip is to avoid the outdoors during the sunniest parts of the day. In other words, don’t engage in physical activity in the afternoon; do it early in the morning or late at night instead. This will protect your body from getting drained quickly by the direct and powerful sunlight and heat. Finally, being balanced and exercising in moderation is suggested. Workouts sessions shorter in length and decreased in their intensity are optimal. You are less susceptible to overheating if you engage in mild or moderate outdoor activities. 


We hope that this article gave you knowledge about dehydration in seniors, what symptoms look like, and how to be proactive about preventing water loss. Of course, if you recognize worrisome symptoms, it is important to reach out to your doctor for professional guidance. 

If you are looking for home health care in Philadelphia, don’t hesitate to contact Premier Home Care, Inc. Our dedicated staff and team of caregivers are excited to get to you and your family. We provide both non-medical and skilled services in all five counties surrounding Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.