The Importance of Hydration in the Elderly

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The importance of hydration in the elderly (Image to portray woman drinking water for hydration) Introduction For my summary for key skills topic I intend to carry out research on the importance of hydration in the elderly, as this is an important subject that is relevant to my work role as Team Leader on the dementia unit at Alexandra Grange Care Home. My two source documents are ‘Proper hydration in the elderly’ (livestrong.com) and ‘Thirst 4 life’ (buckscc.gov.uk). Main Points The importance of hydration Symptoms of dehydration Risk factors How to avoid dehydration Daily hydration requirements Hydration tips Conclusion I can use my research to inform my care staff and increase awareness that hydration in elderly people is important, as dehydration can cause persistent tiredness, lethargy, heartburn, muscle weakness, cramps, dizziness, nausea, confusion, back pain, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, headaches, and dry eyes. Dehydration can also increase the risk of urinary tract infections and dry skin, and can be fatal. The symptoms of a urinary tract infection include cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul or strong odor, fever, pain or burning with urination, pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen (usually middle) or back, and strong need to urinate often, even right after the bladder has been emptied. Symptoms of dehydration can sometimes be confused with dementia in older people, monitoring fluid intake on charts for elderly people with dementia can help to ensure sufficient hydration and avoid the risk of dehydration. Older people are especially prone to dehydration because of age related changes in how water is used in the body. Elderly people with dementia may be at more risk of dehydration due to swallowing difficulties. Water is the best option for hydration, but any fluids count towards the daily requirement. Some

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