We’ve all heard that we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to maintain proper hydration, but how many of us really take the time to measure our fluid intake? It can be even worse for residents in nursing homes and managed care facilities. Many residents are on multiple medications, and these can have profound effects on the fluid balance in their bodies. There may also be behavioral or physical obstacles to getting enough water. Dehydration is a serious issue in managed care settings, and it’s worth the extra effort to make sure that both you and your residents are staying hydrated.
“It’s winter and cold outside so no one is sweating,” you might say? It’s true that you’re not sweating like in the summer heat, but even in cold temperatures, we lose water through sweat. Also, home and commercial heaters dry the air significantly. It’s very tough to stay properly hydrated when you are surrounded by such dry air. Dehydration can contribute to everything from decreased cognitive abilities to an increased risk of urinary tract infections. The Nursing Home Abuse Blog has a great article on the subject.
Need another reason to take dehydration seriously? A recent study showed that, in women, “dehydration caused little reduction in cognitive ability, but did cause significant fatigue, tension and anxiety.” (from Scientific American).We all have enough stress in our lives. Those eight glasses of water might go a long way towards keeping you healthy and happy. Do it for your residents and for yourself!