July 5th-7th, 2019, Brechtbau, Tuebingen, Germany

Challenge D

„Dehydration prevention for elder adults“

Proposed by:

AOK Baden-Württemberg (AOK) is the fifth biggest statutory health insurance in Germany. It looks after 4,4 million people and with 35% market share AOK is the largest health insurance company in the southwest of Germany. But AOK is more than just a health insurance company. It guarantees optimum health care in case of illness and provides a comprehensive portfolio in terms of prevention.


In order to properly maintain all body functions a human being has to intake a certain amount of water every day. This amount individually depends on the person’s age, sex, health status, physical activity level, etc. A drop in the body´s total water content by just 1% can negatively affect physical health and cognitive ability. For many people drinking water is a huge challenge, becoming even more problematic at elder age.


There are multiple reasons why risk of dehydration increases with age, e.g. the feeling of thirst is reduced, fear of going to the toilet at night, incontinence or prostate problems, the need of multiple medications can increase the onset of dehydration, etc. Because of the low water reservoir of elder adults, it is important to learn to drink regularly even when not thirsty. There already exist some devices to monitor or motivate drinking behavior but none is adapted to the elderly. Neither do they meet the specific needs or fears of elder adults, nor include specific education on drinking principles.


We would like to engage elder people (age >65 years, living at home, alone or with partner, with good cognitive ability) to drink more water. How can elder people with specific needs and fears get motivated and engaged to increase their fluid intake to prevent dehydration?


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