Top Ways to Prevent Dehydration and Malnutrition in the Elderly
21st March 2019
The topic of dehydration is more relevant than ever during Hydration Week which runs from 17th – 23rd March 2019.
The mission is to create a movement that will reinforce and focus engagement on nutrition and hydration as an important part of quality care in social care settings.
Did you know that malnutrition affects 10% of the elderly population? Or that 25% of elderly people have mild chronic dehydration? These are all numbers and statistics that can be reduced by taking better care of hydration practices, and providing water and juice all-year round to your residents.
How can Malnutrition and Dehydration Occur?
Different factors can contribute to a person not having enough sufficient nutrients, including lack of resources and access to water and juice on a regular basis. As people get older, their sensitivity to taste decreases and often have to be reminded to drink regularly, including during taking medication and at regular intervals. Here are some other reasons for the occurrence of malnutrition and dehydration in the elderly:
- Health conditions can make it difficult to swallow fluids
- Loneliness and depression can affect a person’s desire to eat or take fluids
- Their eating and drinking environment conditions can affect how much a person drinks or consumes a day
- Unable to absorb nutrients
Preventing Dehydration and Malnutrition in the Elderly
If you want to ensure the person you care for continues to get enough nourishment, follow these simple steps:
- Encourage small but frequent meals
- Find out what foods they enjoy eating
- Avoid over repetition of the same meals
- Serve suitable portion sizes
- Encourage a glass of water or juice between and during meals
- Ensure water and juice is accessible in the environment the resident is in
- Offer different choices of drinks
- Staff training to recognise the importance of hydration
- Determine individual daily fluid intake goals
- Provide aids for drinking if needed
- Try to avoid coffee, alcohol and high-protein drinks especially in large quantities because they have a diuretic effect and can lead to loss of body water and exacerbate dehydration
- Monitor the senior’s daily fluid intake by creating a hydration schedule
The recommended daily intake of water per day to maintain optimum hydration is 8 to 10 glasses. Strategies to increase fluid intake in residential care homes include identifying and overcoming barriers to drinking including reduced social drinking and drinking pleasure. These strategies may include providing a happy hour to encourage families and visitors to offer fluids.
Increasing awareness of hydration practices in the care setting can make a difference to health and quality of life and have a massive impact on the welfare of others. We have some solutions to preventing dehydration in the workplace with our juice and water dispensers that can provide you with unlimited fluids for your residents in the care setting.