Healthy hydration for older adults with poor appetites
Keeping well hydrated is important for all of us and advice is to aim for 6-8 drinks a day, but if you have a poor appetite or are worried about losing weight you may also want to choose drinks that provide energy and nutrients as well.
Good hydration is important because it can help prevent constipation, urine infections and falls and as we get older our sense of thirst may reduce so it’s especially important to drink regularly throughout the day.
If you’re caring for an older person who is in poor health and/or has mobility issues then it’s important to make sure drinks are readily available at all times and to provide help with drinking if needed. The fear of incontinence can mean that people restrict their fluid intakes but this is not the best solution and may actually make things worse.
A variety of drinks, both hot and cold can help keep you hydrated, although alcoholic drinks do not count.
Our healthy hydration guide for older adults with poor appetites is available to download below and outlines the pros and cons of different drinks.
- Water is a good choice throughout the day. You could try adding mint or lemon for extra flavour.
- Tea coffee and other hot drinks: Many of us enjoy these drinks and they count towards your fluid intake. Drink with plenty of milk if you want to add extra calories and protein.
- Milk and milky drinks: Milk is a good source of calcium, iodine, B vitamins and protein. Whole milk can be a better choice for adults with poor appetites. To increase calorie and protein intake, why not try to include milky drinks like hot chocolate or milkshakes with added fruit and yogurt. You can also fortify your milk by blending 2-4 heaped teaspoons of dried skimmed milk powder into a pint of whole milk. Use on cereals, in porridge, sauces soups and milky drinks.
- Fruit and vegetable juices: Unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juices provide you with vitamins and minerals. A 150ml glass counts as one of your 5 A DAY.
- Soups and smoothies: High fluid foods, like soups, will contribute to hydration! Also, why not try smoothies as they can provide a range of vitamins and minerals.
- Soft drinks count towards your intake but they may provide limited nutrients. Diet options are not a good choice if you are trying to prevent weight loss.
Information reviewed August 2019
The resource below provides information about adults with poor appetites and/or thirst responses and how these groups can make sure they are adequately hydrated.
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Please note that advice provided on our website about nutrition and health is general in nature. We do not provide any personal advice on prevention, treatment and management for patients or their family members.