Most seniors simply do not drink enough water. During the warmer times of year especially, this can lead to dehydration. Seniors, like small children, dehydrate more quickly than do young and middle-aged adults and there can be severe consequences for dehydration, including urinary tract infections, electrolyte imbalances and even hallucinations and delusions. To prevent such serious complications, Bridgewater Home Care Assistance presents a few ways to make sure your loved one is keeping hydrated.
- Make the Water Accessible and Attractive – Make sure water is always present in your loved one’s life. If your loved one is bedbound or simply has a “sitting chair” where they like to spend a lot of their time, make sure to keep a glass of water always within reach. When you serve a meal, always offer water along with juice or other beverage and always have your loved one take their medications with water. Just having the water accessible goes a long way to encouraging them to drink.
- Give Frequent Reminders – If your loved one tends to be forgetful, remind them regularly to drink. Even if they are taking sips throughout the day, when done frequently, it can add up and keep them properly hydrated. If you combine the reminders with keeping a glass of water readily available, this can encourage and reinforce the desired behavior. Make sure to acknowledge and praise your loved one when they do drink, particularly if your loved one has struggled with this in the past.
- Use Popsicles, Jell-O and Ice Chips – While these examples cannot replace water for hydration, both Jell-o and popsicles work as excellent supplements to your loved one’s fluid intake and they are ideal if your loved one will drink some water, but not always as much as they need. You can make both snacks healthier by added fresh fruit to the Jell-O and by making homemade popsicles with juices and other healthy ingredients. If your loved one likes ice chips, these are also a good way to keep their hydration level healthy.
- Discourage Overuse of Coffee and Tea – Many seniors operate under the mistaken belief that drinking coffee or tea will contribute to their hydration level. In fact, just the opposite is true, as the caffeine in both these beverages will actually dehydrate a person. There is nothing wrong with moderate amounts of coffee or tea, but try to limit them to one serving of each daily.
As the temperatures rise, do the best you can to make sure that your aging parent or loved one is hydrated. For more information about caring for a senior at home, contact Home Care Assistance of Bridgewater today. We are leading provider of hourly and live-in home care and also provide specialty services including dementia, Parkinson’s and stroke home care for Bridgewater seniors. To find out how our caregivers can help your aging parent or loved one this summer season, contact a Care Manager at 908-450-9400 today.