Having access to an adequate and safe water source remains a challenge for billions of people around the world. Biological ageing causes the body to weaken, and having access to clean water becomes more important. The elderly are vulnerable to water issues in the following ways:

  1. Water is key to health. Elderly people are more likely to become dehydrated because of their decreased ability to maintain balance fluid.  Older people’s sense of thirst naturally decreases with age, and medications can also affect a person’s sense of thirst. Elderly people are vulnerable to water borne illnesses that cause diarrheal diseases.
  2. Water doesn’t always come from a tap. Elderly persons may not have the strength to walk to communal wells to fetch water for consumption. Due to long walk and heavy strain they may reduce the amount of water they bring to their residence for consumption.
  3. Water is key to food security. Elderly persons often have diminished strength for farming which can in and of itself create greater food insecurity.  People who have better access to water tend to have lower levels of undernourishment. The lack of water can be a major cause of famine and undernourishment, in particular in areas where people depend on local agriculture for food and income.

Interested in doing something in honour of World Water Day? Consider donating to HelpAge International; they have many excellent programmes that work to ensure water access for the elderly.

Photo courtesy mctrent