When fluid consumption is sufficient older people tend to have fewer falls, improved rehabilitation in orthopedic patients, and a reduction in bladder cancer.

Drinking 5 or more 8-oz. glasses of water a day is also associated with lower rates of fatal coronary heart disease.

Dehydration in the elderly is not just caused by inadequate fluid intake. It can also be triggered by illnesses that cause the body to lose fluids such as flu and diabetes.  With aging, it becomes more difficult for the body to maintain fluid balance.  There are several reasons. Studies show the thirst response, which is the body’s primary mechanism for signaling the need for fluid, becomes blunted with age.

As the level of water loss increases, more symptoms can become apparent. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Eyes stop making tears
  • Sweating may stop
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Light-headedness (especially when standing)
  • Weakness and decreased urine output
  • Kidney failure if not caught.