The Link Between Older Age and Dehydration 26th October 2020

When you reach a certain age, you have the opportunity to experience amazing things such as spending more time with loved ones, getting time to pursue your dreams during retirement that wasn’t possible before and sharing wisdom/experiences with others. But one part that isn’t amazing is becoming more susceptible to dehydration. In fact, the most common fluid and electrolyte problem that the elderly experience is dehydration1. Here are a few reasons as to why the elderly are prone to dehydration.

Lower Thirst Response

As we get older, we experience a decrease in our sense of thirst2. With this comes lower levels of fluid consumption and may result in dehydration even though we’re not aware of it. Our bodies also have less water content when we’re older, making us more susceptible to dehydration3.


Taking medication such as diuretics and laxatives can also increase the chances of dehydration4. Some medications can lead to an increase in water loss. It’s best to speak with your health professional to see if any medication that you’re taking can put you at risk of dehydration.

Decreased Kidney Function

The way our kidneys function declines as we get older, which means that we lose more water through urination5. Our kidneys help to regulate fluid but doesn’t work as well when we’re older, and the hormonal response to dehydration is also weakened4.

Tea and Coffee

Tea and Coffee are nice things to have but can also act as a diuretic due to the caffeine, which means that you pass urine more often. However, when taken in moderation, it shouldn’t dehydrate you and can contribute towards your daily fluid intake6.

Heat Stress

When the body can’t cool itself and maintain a healthy temperature, then it can lead to heat stress. The body can stay cool by creating sweat, but it might not be enough at certain times, so the body temperature keeps increasing. When you experience hot and dry skin, a rapid heart rate, nausea, vomiting or muscle cramps, then you may have a heat-related illness7.

Staying Hydrated

Even if you’re not feeling dehydrated, it’s important to start getting into a habit of sipping fluids regularly throughout the day. BIOLyte can help you replenish lost water and electrolytes through its sachets, effervescent tablets or Ready to Drink formats. Rehydrate today with BIOLyte.


  1. Lavizzo-Mourey, R.J. 1987, Dehydration in the Elderly: A Short Review, Original Communications, Philadelphia, Journal of the National Medical Association, Vol. 79, No. 10, pp 1033-1038, <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2625510/pdf/jnma00925-0023.pdf>
  2. Picetti, D., Foster, S., Pangle, A. K., Schrader, A., George, M., Wei, J. Y., & Azhar, G. 2017, Hydration Health Literacy in the Elderly. Nutrition and healthy aging, 4(3), pp 227–237, <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5734130/>
  3. Gille, D. 2010, Overview of the Physiological Changes and Optimal Diet in the Golden Age Generation Over 50, Eur Rev Aging Phys Act 7, pp 27–36, <https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11556-010-0058-5>
  4. British Nutrition Foundation 2014, Dehydration in the Elderly, London, <https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/life/dehydrationelderly.html>
  5. Seladi-Schulman, J. 2020, The Causes and Symptoms of Dehydration in Older Adults, Healthline Media, <https://www.healthline.com/health/symptoms-of-dehydration-in-elderly>
  6. ABC Life 2019, Does Drinking Coffee Make You Dehydrated?, ABC, Melbourne, <https://www.abc.net.au/life/does-drinking-coffee-make-you-dehydrated/11220452>
  7. Better Health Channel 2015, Heat Stress and Older People, Melbourne,
    < https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/heat-stress-and-older-people>