Why is hydration important?
Water makes up two thirds of the body. That’s why it’s really important to stay hydrated with plenty of healthy fluids which help to maintain healthy body functions, such as digestion, and lubrication of the joints and eyes.
Dehydration is usually caused by not drinking enough fluid to replace what we lose. This can be caused by diet, climate, exercise and illnesses.
Some of the signs include:
- dark coloured, strong-smelling urine
- a dry mouth
- feeling thirsty and lightheaded
- passing urine less often than usual.
It can also cause symptoms which affect:
- reaction times
- cause confusion and disorientation.
It’s particularly important for elderly people to maintain good fluid levels, as dehydration increases the risk of illnesses such as urinary tract infections, falls and fractures.
Drinking regularly throughout the day, when thirsty, can reduce the symptoms above and help to maintain good emotional and physical wellbeing.
NHS Choices recommends drinking water, diluted squash or fruit juice if you’re dehydrated, instead of tea or coffee which is caffeinated. More information from NHS Choices can be found here.
We are currently working with local care homes on a new initiative called Project Hydration which aims to encourage healthy fluid levels for elderly care home residents through improved hydration practices.
The scheme also helps to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of both residents and staff in care homes, through increased engagement, communication and enjoyable activities. Some of the methods used to increase resident’s hydration levels include themed tea parties, colourful hydration stations, non-alcoholic drinks parties and identifying regular times for staff and residents to drink and talk together.
The project launched in late 2016 and has observed positive effects in health and wellbeing, including reduced hospital admissions.
Surrey Downs CCG encourages all residential and nursing homes across Surrey Downs to sign up to Project Hydration with training events and on-going support available throughout the year. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Surrey Downs CCG Reception on 01372 201500.