Because more than sixty percent of the human body is made up of water, staying hydrated is important to keep our bodies functioning properly. As adults, we lose more than eighty ounces of water daily just through normal activity. Elderly adults are among the most at risk groups for dehydration, one of the most frequent causes of hospitalization after age 65. Because of the potentially serious consequences of this condition to seniors, as a caregiver it’s important to recognize the causes and symptoms of dehydration as well as how you can help your loved one stay properly hydrated.
As a natural part of the aging process, our bodies undergo physiological changes that increase our risk of becoming dehydrated. With advancing years, seniors can lose their sense of thirst and tend not to drink enough. Age slows down our metabolic rate and we need fewer calories. We are not generally as physically active as we once were, either. Our appetites decrease, we eat less food and as a result get less fluids from solid food sources, too, problematic for the elderly since almost everyone gets about half their daily water requirement from solid foods and fruit and vegetable juices.
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