Researchers at the University of East Anglia are launching a campaign to help older people in Norfolk and Waveney stay hydrated this summer.
Recent research carried out by the team showed that one in four older people are dehydrated, simply because they don’t drink enough.
To combat this, they have designed dehydration awareness posters, which will be displayed in health and social care settings across Norfolk and Waveney.
PhD researcher Ellice Parkinson, from UEA’s School of Health Sciences, said: “Older people are more at risk of dehydration, due to the physiological changes associated with ageing, and feeling less thirsty.
“All adults should drink at least two litres, or three-and-a-half pints of non-alcoholic drinks every day.
“Dehydration among older people is largely caused by not drinking enough, but it is associated with many long-term health conditions including kidney problems, UTI’s, infections, pressure sores, dizziness, falls, confusion and headaches. It can lead to hospitalisation and even death.
“We wanted to better-understand how many older people are dehydrated, so we looked at 61 studies involving more than 22,000 participants.
“We found that a staggering one in four over-65s are dehydrated, which is really worrying,” she added.
To get the message out there and help older people stay hydrated, the team collaborated with health professionals and over 65s to design a suite of visually striking posters.
The aim of the posters is to inform the public and healthcare professionals about the potential consequences of dehydration on the health of older people.
And they will be distributed to almost 400 GP surgeries, hospitals, and long-term care settings.
"I am really proud of this work as it demonstrates how we make sure that our research findings are shared with the communities we serve, as quickly as possible, and as impactfully as possible," said Parkinson.
“As well as highlighting the problem, they provide clear guidelines on the recommended daily fluid intake to prevent dehydration,” she added.
The full study on which the posters are based, ‘Low-intake dehydration prevalence in non-hospitalised older adults: Systematic review and meta-analysis’, is published in Clinical Nutrition.