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What determines how much water someone needs?

One of the biggest concerns for the elderly is dehydration. It seems so simple, but those who depend on caregivers for food and water can quickly find themselves malnourished and dehydrated if they get neglected or forgotten. Hydration mistakes can make someone sick, detract from their quality of life and even prove deadly.

This issue does get a bit complicated at times, though, as everyone does not need the same amount of water. You may have heard the old adage about drinking eight glasses per day, or 64 ounces. That’s not a bad place to start, but the reality is that a multitude of factors impacts how much a person really needs. These include:

  • What the environment is like. Hot Florida weather may mean the elderly need more water or face dire ramifications faster when they don’t get enough.
  • How much exercise a person gets. Even simple things, like going for a walk, can change the equation.
  • If the person has any short-term illnesses. If they get a cold or a fever, hydration needs increase, but it can be even harder for caregivers to get elderly individuals to drink. Other health issues include urinary tract stones and bladder infections.
  • If the person has long-term health issues. For instance, gastronomical issues can lead to diarrhea or vomiting, both of which lead to dehydration much faster.

For the nursing home staff, the key is to analyze each individual situation carefully to determine hydration needs. When neglect means that this does not happen, family members then need to know what legal options they have at their disposal.


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