Whether you are inside or out, moving or sitting still the summer heat can still pose potentially deadly hydration problems, especially in the elderly population. With August just starting summer is in full force and I think we can safely say we feel the heat. As mom and dad age they tend to drink less. There are several different things that cause this including, the inability to feel thirst, it takes too much effort to get up for a drink, trouble swallowing, and certain medications can limit the bodies ability to retain water to name a few. Did you know dehydration has been linked to confusion and falls in elderly adults? While we are out enjoying the beautiful PNW weather we must make a conscious effort to drink water, especially on the rare days it isn’t falling from the sky. Find Us @ Home has the caregivers you want and they come to your home! Whether you need a little extra assistance or a lot of extra assistance we’ve got you covered. Check out our web site for more information and full list of services. With summer in full swing there are several things we can do to make sure we not only stay hydrated ourselves but ensure the ones we love do as well. Below is a list of ways for caregivers to maintain and encourage proper hydration in older adults.
- Encourage fluids regularly throughout the day even if they say they are not thirsty
- Dehydration can cause weakness and confusion among older adults, encourage water even if they don’t ask and offer medical assistance
- Make sure water is easily accessible in spill proof, non-breakable glasses
- Ensure there is a straw available for every drink container
- Water can be found in several foods- encourage low sodium broth-based soups, fruits such as watermelon, salads, and fruit-based smoothies
- Make fruits and vegetables easily available for snacking
- Find something they like to drink, offer a variety of choices i.e. 100% fruit juice, water, tea, ensure, fruit smoothies etc.
- Make sure the primary beverages consumed are water, low-fat milk, or 100% fruit juice
- Monitor urine- it should be clear and pale yellow in color if it is darker yellow it could be a sign of dehydration
- Track water intake and make sure it remains consistent from day to day
- Sparkling water with some natural flavoring can improve the taste for some and still maintain hydration
- Stay out of the heat as much as possible and try to avoid going outside during the hottest periods of the day
Finally, caregivers should remember that everyone can benefit from these tips and make sure they don’t forget to take care of themselves as well. It is easy to get caught up making sure those in your charge are well cared for often at your own expense. It is just as important to maintain your own hydration level before you can properly care for another.