senior-male-and-female-caregiver-on-porch-with-cold-drinks senior-male-and-female-caregiver-on-porch-with-cold-drinks

Senior Hydration: Helpful Hacks To Stay Hydrated

It’s summer! Although many of us enjoy the warm weather the season brings, it also comes with various risks, including dehydration.

What Is Dehydration?

The Mayo Clinic states, “Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated.” The signs of dehydration in seniors include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Decrease in urination; urinary tract infections; urine that is darker than normal
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded; fainting
  • Poor concentration
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Falling
  • Difficulty remembering

Dehydration in Seniors

Although people of all ages can get dehydrated, the elderly are at greater risk because of changes in their bodies as they grow older. According to the National Council on Aging, dehydration in seniors is more prominent and they are more vulnerable for several reasons:

  • Seniors’ appetite and thirst tend to diminish with age, meaning that even if their bodies are craving fluids, they might not be aware of it; therefore, they may drink less than needed to stay healthy.
  • Older adults experience body composition changes over time, leaving them with less water in their bodies.
  • Seniors are more likely to take medications that increase dehydration risk and may have mobility problems that make it difficult to get water for themselves.

Because older adults are at greater risk for dehydration, these unique causes can quickly lead to it:

  • Spending too long in the sun or high humidity (causes too much sweating)
  • A recent illness or diarrhea
  • Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
  • Diabetes
  • Diuretics and blood pressure medications without adequate liquids

Tips for Keeping the Elderly Hydrated

“It is estimated that up to 40% of community-dwelling elderly people may be chronically underhydrated,” according to a UCLA School of Nursing study. So, what advice can help seniors stay hydrated?

  1. Web MD states that adults should aim to consume six to eight glasses of fluid a day. Good ways to ingest fluids include the following:
  • Drink a full glass of water with medications.
  • Make water taste better by adding a slice of lemon.
  • Keep a water-filled bottle close by to sip on throughout the day at home and away.
  • Have fluids with meals and take sips between bites.
  • Eat soft foods that contain a lot of water, like custard and yogurt.
  • Substitute afternoon snacks with low-fat soup or broth.
  1. Not all liquids are hydrating—some actually work against hydration. Special consideration should be given to the following:
  • Alcoholic drinks, such as hard liquor, beer, and wine. A rule of thumb is one glass of water for every alcoholic drink.
  • Soda and energy drinks, which can often contain lots of sugar, sodium and caffeine. Drink in moderation.
  • Milk—even though milk is good for the body, it contains sugar.
  • Smoothies, which may contain fruit but also have added sugar.
  • Lemonade because of the added sugar.
  1. Many foods have high water content and can help keep a senior hydrated. Any fruit or vegetable with more than 80% water content is a great choice. Here is a list of the highest water-content foods that offer the best hydration:
  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Iceberg and romaine lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Zucchini and summer squash
  • Asparagus
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Soups, broths and stews (watch the sodium content, though!)
  1. If you care for a senior:
  • Pay attention to the causes and symptoms of elderly dehydration.
  • Check on them often on hot days.
  • Ask them about the liquids they are consuming and how much.
  • Ask them about the foods they are consuming and how much.
  • If they garden, help them out and ensure they are not overdoing it.
  • Check your loved one’s prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to ensure they are not contributing to dehydration.
  • Sit down with your loved one, enjoy a refreshing glass of your favorite decaffeinated iced tea or unsweetened herbal hot tea, and enjoy the summer weather!

How Right at Home Can Help

Right at Home can help ensure the safety of your loved one as they age in place at home. Our compassionate caregivers can provide a variety of companionship/homemaking and personal care services. We also provide care for those with dementia/Alzheimer’s or other special health considerations. Use our office locator to find the office nearest to you and ask for a FREE in-home consultation.

Marsha Johns, blog author

Marsha Johns is a veteran health care marketer and award-winning writer. She strives to make medical topics understandable and relatable for all readers.

Share this resource

Related Articles

Older man drinking water
Preventing Dehydration in the Elderly
A study of more than 15,000 Americans found that among older adults age 71 and above, 95 percent of elder men and 83 percent of elder women do not drink enough water. These inadequate fluid levels can lead to serious or life-threatening health conditions including urinary and kidney problems, seizures and heatstroke.
Read more
Aging and Medications: How To Stay Safe on the Medication Merry-Go-Round
Many older adults take several medications every day. Because the body’s tolerance changes with age, seniors must be aware of potential side effects and those medications that pose a greater risk to them.
Read more
You Are What You Eat—Yes, You Really Are.
Poor nutrition is a concern for older adults for various reasons. Health problems can arise if the issue isn’t addressed. These tips can help.
Read more

Need help right now? Call us anytime at

(877) 697-7537