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Staying Hydrated |Summer’s Coming And So Are Some Dangers

Staying Hydrated |Summer’s Coming And So Are Some Dangers

Staying Hydrated When Caring For The Elderly

Dehydration.  As we come into the summer months, it’s a real concern.  There are key groups who are most at risk: the very young and the very old.  Those who are disabled and have the reduced capacity to move around freely and access water are also at risk.  The Hydration for Health are as passionate about prevention and for this group staying hydrated as we are!  There are some staggering statistics around the dangers of dehydration in the aged:

  • The amount of water decreases by 15% between the ages of 20 years old and 80 years old – that means that there is a greater impact of fluid loss as you age (2)
  • Dehydration is defined as a rapid loss of 3% of body weight.  3%! (1)
  • Dehydration is one of the most frequency causes of hospitalisation in those who are aged between 65 & 75 years (1)
  • In one recent study (4), it was found at 40% of the aged living in the community were found to be under-hydrated, while 20% were dehydrated

Of these insights that our great researchers afford one, universally the message is to monitor your intake for staying hydrated.  Developing good habits and identifying the risk factors are essential strategies in mitigating this risk.  In this Nurse-on-the-Go Video, we discuss the importance of these habits and what to look out for.

There are some calculators and tools for estimating how much water to consume per day

Here is a great water intake calculator to work out what your actual water needs for staying hydrated.  This is another great tool, but not all countries are included.  We are too busy rushing around to even think of drinking water regularly.  The problem is your body suffers the effects of dehydration.  If you ignore your body’s warning signs then it will just be a matter of time before your body says “listen to me” .  Usually in the form of a medical problem that could have been prevented.  We like prevention at inightingale.  By the time you feel thirsty, you’re on the slippery slope of dehydration.  Do your water intake calculator to know what your body needs. Also if you have any medical problem seek medical advise on appropriate hydration needs for you.  Don’t forget, not all countries are included, so find a region with a similar climate to your environment.

Even Michelle Obama agrees!

Its fun watching the water level rise up the body and playing with all the dials.

The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing (3) list the signs you need to watch out for with your care recipient and whether they are staying hydrated or not:

Common Symptoms of Dehydration

  • Change in mental status
  • Delayed capillary refill
  • Dry mucous membranes (lips) and skin, decreased saliva
  • Fever or urinary tract infection
  • Hypotension with orthostatic changes
  • Lethargy
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle weakness (particularly upper body)
  • Nausea
  • Oliguria
  • Poor skin turgor over sternum
  • Sunken eyes
  • Tongue dry
  • Weight loss of 3-5% in less than 30 days or acute weight loss

A couple of great resources we’ve found on the internet are here, also.  Firstly a little message from Michelle Obama:

And also from the team at the Hydration For Health Initiative, a great indicator for whether you are dehydrated or not:

Phill Tsingos is a Director of inightingale. Qualified Registered nurse. He has been a nurse his entire adult life (Circa: 1993). He thrives on the daily challenges of working in an emergency department (Clinical teacher). Phill’s mission is everyone should have the best quality of life possible. He has made caring for people a life long devotion (perhaps even an obsession). Seeing many people suffer as a result of inadequate care at home. Phill wanted to be the prevention not the cure. That is how iNightingale was born. Phill loves questions or comments or general chin wag at Google

If you have any comments or questions, send an email to Phill – – and he’ll answer straight away. Alternatively, leave a comment and he’ll offer his insights here as well

(1) Collins, M & Claros, E (2011) “Recognizing the face of dehydration” Nursing 41(8), p 26–31.
(2) Hydration for Health Initiative
(3) Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing
(4) Mentes, J. C. (2013) “The Complexities of Hydration Issues in the Elderly”  Nutrition Today 48(45), pp s10-s12.

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