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Dehydration is a common problem for seniors
Dehydration is a common and very serious condition for older adults. The best thing to do is try to prevent it from happening, but it’s much easier said than done to increase their fluid intake! Be creative and on the alert to make your senior frequently drink water! As always, treat your older adult with respect and discuss why it is so important to drink water and ask for their ideas. 

To help with this sometimes frustrating mission, we rounded up creative tips from fellow caregivers.

Dehydration can cause death
It’s important to prevent dehydration because it’s a common cause of hospitalization in people over 65 and can even cause death.

It can also cause other major health problems like kidney stones, blood clot complications, passing out, rapid but weak pulse, and lowered blood pressure. Being properly hydrated is also very important for certain medications to work.

6 ways to get seniors to drink more water

  1. Remember there are many sources of fluids
    Older adults don’t have to drink only plain water to get hydrated. Coffee, tea, fruit juice, sweetened beverages, fruits, and vegetables all contain water. If your senior really hates drinking fluids, serve them more foods with high water content to increase their hydration.
  1. Keep water easily accessible
    Sometimes, making it easy for seniors to serve themselves could encourage them to drink water more frequently. Try putting a lightweight pitcher of water and a cup near their favorite seat.
  1. Experiment with beverages at different temperatures
    Your senior may prefer hot drinks to cold, or the other way around. Experiment to find out which type they like better. Try warming up juices, making decaf iced coffee with cream, or adding soda water to make drinks bubbly.
  1. Try something savory
    Those who like savory foods may enjoy drinking hot soup broth. The broth can come from a can, box, or powder, but some older adults really like it — especially in cold weather.
  1. Make popsicles
    Homemade popsicles made from fruit juice or a mix of juice and water are a great summer treat. But they’re also a great way to get more fluids into your senior. Frozen fruit from the supermarket is also a healthy, refreshing treat.
  1. Offer smoothies, milkshakes, Ensure, sports drinks
    Some stubborn older adults may really resist drinking fluids. If so, you can try enticing them with smoothies, milkshakes, Ensure, or sports drinks. Sometimes they’ll like the flavor or texture and be willing to drink them.

Bottom line
These are a few ideas to help you coax your senior into drinking more water. What’s important is to be creative and arm yourself with many different ideas in case their preferences change. 

Be careful of health issues and check with the doctor when you have questions. For example, don’t give high sodium drinks to someone with high blood pressure, milkshakes to someone already overweight with high cholesterol, or heavily sweetened drinks to a diabetic.


Photo of Connie Chow, founder of DailyCaring
By Connie Chow, Contributing Writer and Founder of

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