Date: June 28, 2022

Author: Kathleen Boziwick

As the weather warms up and days are longer and sunnier, it’s easy for older adults to end up experiencing dehydration. They get outside to enjoy the warmth of the sun and lose track of time.

Your mom’s experiencing UTIs and her doctor says she’s not drinking enough water during the day. What should you know about hydration habits in the elderly?

Up to 28% of Older Adults Are Dehydrated

Dehydration affects around 17% to 28% of older adults. The body is as much as 55% to 65% water, and that water leaves the body when you sweat, urinate, or breathe. It’s essential to replace the water you’re losing through regular activities like breathing, moving around, or going to the bathroom.

You Should Drink 33% of Your Body Weight

The old rule was to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Research finds that’s not always accurate. A good rule of thumb is to take your body weight and multiply it by 33%. If your mom weighs 150 pounds, 33% of that is 49.5. She should drink 49.5 ounces of water each day, which is about six cups of water.

Factors can change this amount. If it’s hot and your mom is sweating more than usual, she should increase her intake. If she’s been ill and throwing up, she needs to increase the amount she’s drinking. Her health may also impact this. If her doctor has told her to restrict her water intake, she needs to listen to her doctor’s advice.

Medications May Increase the Risk of Dehydration

What prescription pills does your mom take? They may be increasing her risk for dehydration. If she’s on an antidepressant that makes her feel nauseous, she may be avoiding foods and beverages until her stomach settles. That impacts her hydration levels.

Talk to her doctor about her medications. If she’s not drinking enough water because she can’t seem to keep foods or beverages down, it’s time to look for an alternative.

Know the Signs of a UTI

When your mom isn’t drinking enough, bacteria will build in her kidneys and bladder as they’re not being flushed out regularly. It increases the risk of a UTI.

Be aware that the signs of a UTI in older adults aren’t always as clear-cut. If your mom is experiencing a low backache, agitated or angry for no obvious reason, going to the bathroom frequently, or has very dark urine, she may have a UTI.

Proper hydration is essential for your health. If your mom has had even one UTI, she needs to pay close attention to her fluid intake. With elder care aides helping her with meals and snacks, she has someone to remind her to have another glass of water.

In addition to monitoring your mom’s fluid intake and meals, her caregiver is there for companionship. Your mom may be more likely to eat a meal or have another cup of iced tea if she has someone to join her. Call an elder care agency to learn more.


Date: June 28, 2022