Hydration in Older Adults: Why it Matters and How to Manage It

Dehydration is an all-too common—and often unrecognized—condition among today’s seniors. As many as 40% of community-dwelling older individuals may be chronically underhydrated.1 For those experiencing swallowing difficulties, staying hydrated can be even more difficult.

The consequences can be dire. Older adults with dehydration can experience confusion, falls, a reduced ability to fight infection, and even death.2 In fact, dehydration is one of the 10 most frequent diagnoses in Medicare hospitalizations.3 That’s why it is crucial for those of us who care for the elderly to understand the signs and recommended interventions for dehydration.

Delivered by Margaret Roche, MS, RD, CSG, FAND and Katrina Woodward, MS, CCC-SLP, CDP, this on-demand webinar will address this critical topic, delivering tips on identifying dehydration, best practices for improving hydration, with a special discussion on managing hydration for patients with dysphagia, complete with diagnostic videos of patients swallowing.

Continuing education credit has been approved for RDs and Certified Dietary Managers who view this webinar. SLPs will receive ASHA certification maintenance hours for attending. 

Learning Objectives:

After attending the webinar, the participant will be able to:

  1. Describe normal hydration needs of the older adult and the serious consequences of not meeting them.
  2. List the signs and symptoms of underhydration and dehydration that can be identified in the older adult.
  3. Recognize how dementia can impact hydration as well as how hydration status affects dementia.
  4. Identify the special hydration needs of those with dysphagia
  5. Share best practices for meeting hydration needs that are especially targeted to the older adult.

About the Presenters:

Margaret Roche, MS, RD, CSG, FAND is the founder of Roche Dietitians and a nationally recognized leader in nutrition consulting. Maggie’s mission is to educate and empower those who nourish others.

Maggie is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition. She has advanced credentials as a certified diabetes educator, is board certified as a specialist in gerontological nutrition, and is distinguished as a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Financial Disclosure: Margaret is the owner and founder of Roche Dietitians. Margaret’s opinions and advice are her own. Margaret Roche and Roche Dietitians are paid consultants to Kent Precision Foods Group, Inc., producers of the Thick-It® brand family of products and have received compensation for presenting this webinar.

Non-financial Disclosure: Margaret is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also a volunteer on the Resources Collection/Best Practices Work Group of USIRG (United States IDDSI Reference Group).

Katrina Woodward, MS, CCC-SLP, CDP is a speech-language pathologist with 19 years of specialty experience evaluating and treating adult and geriatric patients with cognitive-communication deficits and dysphagia. A consummate professional, a proven leader, a dedicated mentor, and a patient advocate with a passion for evidence-based practice, Katrina currently serves as vice president for SDX Dysphagia Experts, Massachusetts Speech-Language-Hearing Association vice president for education and planning, and a US & Territories IDDSI Reference Group volunteer and co-chair of the communications and newsletter committee.

Financial Disclosure: Katrina’s opinions and advice are her own. Katrina is paid consultant to Roche Dietitians has received compensation for presenting this webinar. Katrina receives a salary from Swallowing Diagnostics, LLC as Vice President.

Non-financial Disclosure: Katrina is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She is Vice President of Education & Planning for Massachusetts Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She is also a volunteer on the Communications/News Workgroup as co-chair of USIRG (United States IDDSI Reference Group).

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition, treatment, or the use of Thick-It® products. The information contained herein is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment in any manner.

  1. Mentes JC, DeVost MA, Nandy K. Salivary Osmolality, Function, and Hydration Habits in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. SAGE Open Nursing. 2019;5. doi:1177/2377960819826253
  2. Leeflang, Jennifer. Hydration Tips for Seniors. AgingCare.com. July 20, 2016. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/hydration-tips-for-seniors-205594.htm
  3. “Malnutrition in Nursing Homes”, blog post, PKSD (law firm) (https://www.pksd.com/malnutrition-and-dehydration.html)