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Dehydration can lead to falls in older adults

Dehydration has been shown to increase the risk of falls in older adults.

However many people may not be aware of how much water they should be drinking to maintain optimal physical and mental health and to reduce their risk of having a fall.

Older people can experience dehydration due to the inadequate intake of fluids and other factors related to the ageing process.

The Fuel Your Body campaign which runs until April 30 2017 and is delivered by WA’s leading falls prevention program Stay On Your Feet®,  looks at ways of addressing this issue and aims to keep older adults informed about the impact of dehydration on the body.

The Stay On Your Feet ® program aims to reduce the incidence of falls and falls related injuries in older adults in the community.

Falls are the leading cause of hospitalisation in adults over the age of 65 in Australia and cost the WA health system on average more than $100 million each year.

Stay On Your Feet® Manager, Rachel Meade, said the campaign was designed to give older adults in the community some basic information around food, alcohol and water consumption that are simple to follow, cost effective and age appropriate.

Accredited Practicing Dietician, Dr Christina Pollard, said there is a normal decline in kidney function with age.

“There are also hormonal changes, a decreased thirst perception, the impact of medication and issues like limited mobility which can all affect a person’s fluid intake,” Dr Pollard said.

“These changes may be normal adaptations to the ageing process, however the outcomes of dehydration in older adults can be serious and can increase an individual’s risk of having a fall.”

She said this is why particular care must be taken to ensure adequate water intake in this age group.

The Fuel Your Body campaign highlights the importance of drinking less alcohol, maintaining adequate hydration levels and eating a healthy and balanced diet to keep your brain and body healthy and has been developed using the latest evidence and input from expert dieticians in Western Australia.

Stay On Your Feet® addresses these issues by promoting healthy behaviours that improve older Australians physical and mental wellbeing and to reinforce the benefits of preventing falls before they occur.

To find out more about keeping hydrated and for further information and support on preventing falls contact Stay On Your Feet® on 1300 30 35 40 or visit www.stayonyourfeet.com.au

Stay On Your Feet® is provided by Injury Matters and funded by the Western Australian Department of Health.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Health Injury Matters