6 Ideas to Get Seniors to Drink More Water

get seniors to drink more water

Dehydration is a common problem for seniors

Dehydration is a common and very serious condition for older adults. The best thing to do is try to prevent it from happening, but it’s much easier said than done to increase their fluid intake! To help with this sometimes frustrating mission, we rounded up creative tips from fellow caregivers.


Dehydration can cause death

It’s important to prevent dehydration because it’s a common cause of hospitalization in people over 65 and can even cause death.

It can also cause other major health problems like kidney stones, blood clot complications, passing out, rapid but weak pulse, and lowered blood pressure. Being properly hydrated is also very important for certain medications to work.



6 ways to get seniors to drink more water

1. Remember there are many sources of fluids
Older adults don’t have to drink only plain water to get hydrated. Coffee, tea, fruit juice, sweetened beverages, fruits, and vegetables all contain water. If your senior really hates drinking fluids, serve them more foods with high water content to increase their hydration.

2. Keep water easily accessible
Sometimes, making it easy for seniors to serve themselves could encourage them to drink more water. Try putting a lightweight pitcher of water and a cup near their favorite seat.

3. Experiment with beverages at different temperatures
Your senior may prefer hot drinks to cold, or the other way around. Experiment to find out which type they like better. Try warming up juices, making decaf iced coffee with cream, or adding soda water to make drinks bubbly.

4. Try something savory
Those who like savory foods may enjoy drinking hot soup broth. The broth can come from a can, box, or powder, but some older adults really like it – especially in cold weather.

5. Make popsicles
Homemade popsicles made from fruit juice or a mix of juice and water are a great summer treat. But they’re also a great way to get fluids into your senior.

6. Offer smoothies, milkshakes, Ensure, sports drinks
Some stubborn older adults may really resist drinking fluids. If so, you can try enticing them with smoothies, milkshakes, Ensure, or sports drinks. Sometimes they’ll like the flavor or texture and be willing to drink these beverages.


Bottom line

These are a few ideas to help you coax your senior into drinking more water. What’s important is to be creative and arm yourself with many different ideas in case their preferences change.

Be careful of health issues and check with the doctor when you have questions. For example, don’t give high sodium drinks to someone with high blood pressure, milkshakes to someone already overweight with high cholesterol, or heavily sweetened drinks to a diabetic.


Recommended for you:
Dehydration in Elderly is Dangerous
Check Medications for Dangerous Drug Interactions
Alzheimer’s or Urinary Tract Infection?


By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: LiveStrong.com


  • Reply November 29, 2018

    JoAnn Knutson


    Many seniors really like creamed spinach. If your mom does that would be a way to get healthy dark greens into her.

  • Reply October 27, 2018


    Meals on wheels is a low cost option that has helped me on days I don’t have someone else to help with my grandma who has some dementia. The chat a few moments, provide a hot meal, and are sure she is up and about. Contact your local senior center – lots of free resources available. Don’t be afraid to be specific when friends offer to help – like “can you stop by mom’s on Wednesday and hand her her pills with some ensure?”

    • Reply October 27, 2018


      Excellent suggestions! Thank you for sharing 🙂

      • Reply February 6, 2019


        Yes, Meals on Wheels is a very good option … as long as they eat everything that is delivered to them. For example, when my Mom and Step-father were receiving Meals on Wheels, he wouldn’t eat his vegetables, they got tired of the number of times they had the same meat in a week, not enough variety of foods, and they didn’t drink the milk (Skim or 1%) because “they drink regular milk”! So, yes, it’s a very good, healthy option for seniors, but it doesn’t do them any good if they don’t eat/drink it all. 🙁

        • Reply February 9, 2019


          It’s unfortunate that your mom and step-father didn’t enjoy their meals more, but it’s good that they had the opportunity to eat healthy meals that were delivered to them.

  • Reply August 19, 2018

    Frederick Horne

    Major point by Dr. Kernisan. My wife, 76, without speech due to small strokes, got very dehydrated,in part because of a UTI, which made her not want to drink.

    The trap for a caregiver is to chalk up inadequate drinking to ‘oh, she’s getting old and forgets’ or other mental impairment. My own experience was that, no there is a physical situation or medical condition they’re responding to. The response may be inchoate, and perhaps they don’t want to tell about their discomfort. But a UTI, or incontinence, or difficulty getting to the toilet—the ones doctor cited—may well be the problem.

    • Reply August 19, 2018


      Great points, thank you for sharing your and your wife’s experience. It’s important to investigate and understand the reasons someone may not want to drink beverages to stay hydrated.

  • […] The recommended daily intake of water is around eight glasses. However, this amount is variable according to your weight, gender, and activity, among other factors. Unfortunately, studies show that as we age, we drink less water. Luckily, there are many simple ways to ensure you get enough water throughout the day. […]

  • Reply September 23, 2017

    Beverly Jeannie Gosch

    My Father in Law lives with us and has some “moderate” dementia. We offer him water, juices, and coffee and tea throughout the day, but unless we stay on him, he doesn’t drink. So it seems as though that’s how we are spending our day…constantly reminding him to drink.
    Am going to try some fruited jello to see if maybe eating the fluids doesn’t do better.

    • Reply September 24, 2017


      It can definitely be tough to get someone with dementia to drink enough liquids. They may forget about it if they aren’t reminded. It’s a good idea to try adding some water-rich foods to his diet. That might make it a little easier to keep him well hydrated.

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