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Dehydration and the elderly

Dehydration and the elderly

Our care team at The Somerset Care Centre in Somerset West, spend a lot of time each day ensuring that our residents drink adequate amounts of fluids.

As a person gets older, the sense of thirst is diminished and may not be a reliable gauge of fluid requirements. Additionally, someone with cognitive impairment (dementia) may not be able to express or communicate when they need something to drink. When a person does not take in enough liquid, they become dehydrated – and for an older person, the consequences of dehydration can be serious.

  • Increased mortality – Increased risk of emergency admission to hospital – or of repeated admissions
  • Constipation
  • Impaired cognitive function (confusion)
  • Increased risk of falls
  • Salivary dysfunction (dry mouth – which affects eating)
  • Increased possibility of urinary tract infections
  • Increased risk of pressure injuries
  • Poor hyperglycaemic control in diabetes

We encourage adequate fluid intake by offering our residents drinks that they enjoy.

Last week, carer Cherelda, arranged for our kitchen to make strawberry smoothie-milkshakes. Not only were they healthy – they were a great hit and something we will include on our menu on a regular basis.

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