Dehydration in Seniors and How to Stop It

Dehydration in Seniors and How to Stop It



seniors drinking water

    Dehydration among seniors is common and can have adverse consequences on health. An article was published in the Montreal Gazette in April 2020 about the increased number of dehydrated seniors arriving from le centre d'hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLDs) to the hospital for treatment. To deduce the source of the problem, doctors, advocates including families of patients were interviewed. And they all concluded that it is because CHSLDs are understaffed. It is the main reason why the health and needs of seniors living in CHSLDs are often ignored (“Jason Magder,” 2023). Healthcare issues in Canada have been a puzzle that seems unresolved.

seniors drinking water

    It is a shame because Canada is ranked number six of thirty OECD countries and the second-best country in the world as of 2023. But how come healthcare in Sweden is largely tax-funded? And the life expectancy is higher than in Canada? Based on statistics from the World Bank, Sweden has an average life expectancy of 82.41 years. Canada has an average life expectancy of 81.72 years as of 2020. The difference in ratio might not seem alarming but it reveals that there is room for improvement. 

     Some seniors do not live in nursing homes. If you are a senior, you might choose to stay in your own home, and have in-home assistance, live with healthy family members and friends, live in a retirement community, or live in a retirement home with meals and care provided. And so, if you are thinking of choosing independent living, you need to be extra careful about your health. Or maybe you are a caregiver trying to get more information to help you prepare for the next journey of your life, hydration is key to helping your senior’s body be strong and function autonomously. 


Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount of water being taken in. Integris Health reveals that as people age their sense of thirst decreases or can seemingly go away. Also, the use of medication can cause a decrease in thirst. This does not imply that you do not need water at all. It simply means that you just don’t feel as thirsty as often. It may cause you to drink less water than you need which causes dehydration. Mild dehydration can cause weakness or confusion. In extreme cases, it can lead to kidney damage, brain damage, and even death. 


Signs of dehydration are not always obvious and can range from mild to severe. And if you suspect that you might be suffering from severe dehydration, seek immediate medication attention. Symptoms of dehydration among seniors include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Urination less than usual
  • Loose skin that does not return to normal after pinching
  • Constipation
  • Muscle cramping 
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Fast heart rate


There are simple steps to get the water your body craves. Below are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Choose foods with high water content
  • Keep water near a favorite chair or where you spend the most time during the day
  • Talk to your doctor about the appropriate amount of water you need daily
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Set hydration reminders
  • Avoid or reduce your alcohol intake

Jason Magder. (2023, April 23). Retrieved January 22, 2024, from

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