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Don't get dehydrated

Regularly drinking can prevent health problems. Drinking more fluid will ensure illnesses such as urinary tract infections are reduced.

Older man drinking orange juice

Older people should all aim to have at least 8 drinks a day.

What is dehydration?

Water makes up two thirds of our body. It is vital we drink enough fluid to maintain a healthy balance. Most people get dehydrated by not drinking enough fluids or by losing fluids and not replacing them.

Who is at high risk?

  • those who are dependent on others for access to fluids
  • if you have swallowing problems
  • if you have a raised temperature
  • if you have diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • after you have taken part in strenuous exercise

Spotting the signs and symptoms:

  • drinking less than usual (feeling thirsty)
  • dark-coloured or small amounts of urine
  • headaches
  • tiredness
  • dry mouth, lips or eyes
  • lack of concentration
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • urinary tract infections

What to do if you are concerned about someone yourself or someone you know

You can help prevent dehydration in yourself or others by:

  • recognising the early warning signs
  • planning visits around mealtimes to get a sense of what they are drinking and if they have any difficulties drinking
  • sitting down and having a cup of tea socially or with relatives or friends
  • encouraging around 8 drinks per day such as after each meal and snack time
  • ensuring both hot and cold drinks are safely and freely accessible
  • encouraging foods which are high in fluid content such as ice cream, lollies, jellies, nourishing soups or water rich fruits such as melons

Good hydration can prevent or treat:

  • headaches
  • urinary tract infections
  • constipation
  • dizziness leading to falls
  • memory loss and confusion
  • kidney stones
  • poor oral health
  • pressure ulcers or skin conditions

What should I drink?

Aim for at least 8 drinks per day.

Any fluid, except alcohol counts including milk, water, tea, coffee and fruit juice.