At West Park Care we operate a Think Drink policy at all times and make sure that our care team are encouraging our clients to keep hydrated. It is important for everyone to keep hydrated but especially elderly people and for this reason we focus heavily on hydration during our care visits. Improving hydration in our clients can prevent illness, improve energy and well-being and improve the quality of life.
A lack of fluid causes dehydration and this is an issue that can lead to poor health outcomes for elderly people and even mild dehydration increases the risk of falls as both physical and mental fatigue is increased. Regular fluid intake also helps kidney health and lowers the risk of urinary tract infections.
Certain ages related changes such as a reduced sensation of thirst and mental or physical frailty increase the risk of dehydration in elderly people. This risk is increased in people that suffer from a form of dementia or have suffered a stroke and therefore signs of thirst or an elderly person requesting a drink may not be as reliable of an indicator for thirst. It is also the case that elderly people, especially those with a form of dementia may find swallowing difficult and therefore not take on fluid as easily as other people.
Medication administration is something we regularly do with our clients and dehydration can be a factor especially if the medication includes any diuretics or laxatives. It is also worth noting that incontinence can lead to dehydration if adequate fluid intake is not upheld.
Poor fluid intake or lack of intake is the most common cause of dehydration and we work with our care team to make sure this is prevented by making fluid accessible to all clients. This can be as simple as leaving a drink by the bedside after the night time routine or taking a glass of water in the morning to a client.
It is key that our care team understand the signs of dehydration such as strong smelling dark urine or more subtle signs such as dizziness or dry mouth so that action can be taken but the most important thing is that we prevent a client becoming dehydrated in the first place.
The small details in care make all the difference and fluid intake is essential to the safe delivery of care.
You can find out more about hydration and access the BNF healthy hydration guide at