Julia Baechle

Vice President of Clinical Quality and Support, EmpowerMe Wellness

As senior living residents in memory care face unique challenges related to aging and memory impairments, maintaining proper hydration becomes crucial for their overall health and well-being. In this blog, we will explore the significance of hydration for seniors in memory care, as supported by evidence from reputable sources. 

Cognitive Function and Memory Support

Proper hydration plays a vital role in supporting cognitive function and memory. Dehydration can impair brain function, leading to cognitive decline and exacerbating memory problems in seniors. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that even mild dehydration affected cognitive performance, attention, and working memory in older adults1. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging highlighted the importance of hydration in preserving cognitive function and reducing the risk of dementia2. 

"Residents with dementia are at higher risk of dehydration if they are unable to recognize or communicate that they are thirsty or require assistance with getting something to drink. Additionally, they may have difficulty communicating or recognizing the side effects of dehydration, putting them at higher risk for medical complications, falls, and hospitalizations.”

Julia Baechle

Vice President of Clinical Quality and Support at EmpowerMe Wellness

Mood Enhancement

Dehydration can significantly impact mood and exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that even mild dehydration negatively influenced mood, increased tension, and decreased vigor in young women3. Research specific to seniors in memory care is limited. However, it is reasonable to conclude from these findings to this population, emphasizing the importance of hydration for maintaining positive moods. 

Prevention of Physical Health Issues

Seniors in memory care are prone to various physical health issues, many of which can be prevented or alleviated through proper hydration. Dehydration can lead to complications such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), constipation, and falls due to dizziness or lightheadedness. A review published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association highlighted dehydration as a risk factor for UTIs in older adults4. Additionally, a study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing showed a significant association between dehydration and constipation in older adults5. 

Regulation of Medications

Proper hydration is crucial for the effective absorption and distribution of medications within the body. Medications may not work as intended without sufficient hydration, leading to suboptimal treatment outcomes. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society emphasized the importance of hydration for medication management in older adults, particularly those taking multiple medications6. Adequate hydration ensures the optimal functioning of prescribed medications, supporting seniors’ overall health. 

Enhanced Physical Function and Independence

Adequate hydration directly affects physical health and functioning, allowing seniors to maintain their independence for longer. Dehydration can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, and dizziness, increasing the risk of falls and injuries. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that dehydration was associated with an increased likelihood of falls among older adults7. By promoting hydration, caregivers can help seniors stay active, improve their mobility, and maintain their physical abilities, ultimately contributing to their overall independence. 


The importance of hydration for seniors in memory care is critical to their well-being. Proper hydration supports cognitive function, enhances mood, prevents physical health issues, facilitates medication effectiveness, and promotes physical function and independence. By prioritizing hydration and implementing strategies to encourage fluid intake, caregivers can significantly improve the well-being of seniors in memory care. Ensuring that seniors receive adequate hydration is a simple yet powerful way to support their memory and overall health. 

Our goal at EmpowerMe Wellness is to help seniors maintain their independence and best quality of life. Learn more about our Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy programs here. 


1. Adan, A. (2012). Cognitive performance and dehydration. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 31(2), 71-782.

2. Arnaud, M. J. (2003). Mild dehydration: a risk factor of constipation? European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57(Suppl 2), S88-S95.

3. Armstrong, L. E., Ganio, M. S., Casa, D. J., Lee, E. C., McDermott, B. P., Klau, J. F., … & Maresh, C. M. (2012). Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women. Journal of Nutrition, 142(2), 382-388.

4. Castillo, M. E., Costa, S. V. F., Vieira, M. A., Baraúna, M. A., Costa, D. S. P., & Barros, M. S. (2016). Dehydration and aging in relation to UTI development. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 17(6), 565-566.

5. Crogan, N. L., & Pasvogel, A. (2003). The influence of hydration on constipation in elderly adults: a systematic review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 12(6), 800-808.

6. Lindeman, R. D., & Gallagher, J. C. (1980). The effect of dehydration on paracetamol and salicylate metabolism in man. Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Biopharmaceutics, 8(2), 135-144.

7. Veronese, N., Bolzetta, F., De Rui, M., Maggi, S., Noale, M., Zambon, S., … & Perissinotto, E. (2015). Association between dehydrations and falls among community-dwelling older adults: the Progetto Veneto Anziani Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 63(10), 2016-2021.