Chronic low-order dehydration is common among the elderly, and it frequently goes unnoticed. It has become one of the ten most frequent reasons for hospitalization. This is rather sad as it is probably the most easily avoided reason for hospitalization.
Aside from the health reasons, this can have catastrophic financial effects. The average total hospital charge for treating dehydration related hospitalization is $7,442 dollars. Sadly, dehydration is also associated with increased mortality rates among the elderly, yet it is entirely avoidable.
Why are elderly more at risk?
The elderly face a losing battle against dehydration. Common every-day dehydration symptoms are so frequent that we associate them with “old age” and not dehydration. That is the real danger. Symptoms of dehydration also get misdiagnosed as other diseases and disorders associated with the elderly or old age.
Though the Mayo clinic attempts to warn and educate against this misdiagnosis, public awareness of the basic issue is still very low.
“As you age, your body’s fluid reserve becomes smaller, your ability to conserve water is reduced and your thirst sense becomes less acute.
These problems are compounded by chronic illnesses such as diabetes and dementia, and by the use of certain medications.
Older adults also may have mobility problems that limit their ability to obtain water for themselves.” Mayo Clinic.
The elderly are at a disadvantage when it comes to hydration
Part of the problem is our social education. For example, we expect the elderly to be confused at times. When we observe it we chalk it up to “old age”.
We also expect them to tire easily. So when they act fatigued, we again think, “old age”.
We are not surprised when an elderly person loses their balance and experiences “dizziness.” We automatically assume this comes with old age.
Each of these symptoms just covered are also the basic symptoms of dehydration!
And while these symptoms can also be associated with other conditions, and one should certainly consult a doctor, why not rule them out by ensuring proper hydration in the first place? This can avoid a lot of unnecessary stress, misery, and costly hospital bills ranging in the thousands.
How to properly hydrate
Compounding the problem of dehydration is a lot of loosely-given advice by people unqualified to do so. I frequently have to deal with people who have been at the receiving end of poor advice – people who have been told to drink vast quantities of water each day, and who are somehow trying to keep up with this advice and literally losing sleep due to the frequency of their bathroom trips.
Drinking large quantities in short periods time will not get you rehydrated. All it will do is place unnecessary strain on your bladder. When you drink too much water in a short period of time, your body will not assimilate the water. It’s too much at once, so it gets eliminated from the body instead.
Only small amounts of water, taken frequently and gradually over the period of several days will get you properly rehydrated. That’s what they do in the hospital, and that is why the average hospital stay for dehydration is roughly 4.6 days.
Probably the best advice you can get on rehydration is by Dr. Marrongelle. This is literally the first step for each of his patients. Why? Well, there are many benefits that go with being properly hydrated – not the least of which is increased healing speed, better energy levels, clarity of mind, focus, reduction of pain, decreased toxins, a better balance within the body, increased circulation, normalization of blood pressure, and easier elimination. In short, all symptoms that are caused by dehydration will resolve. If there is an actual illness or disease this can now be properly diagnosed, as any symptoms related to dehydration will be gone.
I highly recommend reading and doing Dr. Marrongelle’s rehydration protocol, It can help anyone, of any age, dramatically.