Senior Dehydration Can Be Deadly- A Solution That Works
The Houston Heat Is On!
Here we are. It’s July in Houston, Texas.
I don’t have to tell you how hot it can get here. And it is important to remember this is a vulnerable time of the year for our seniors.
Simple activities like walking outside to pick up the mail for just a few minutes can cause seniors to get dehydrated. A trip to the grocery store will leave seniors exhausted. Getting in and out of a hot car is a real energy zapper. More so if you are dehydrated.
And it doesn’t take long in the Texas heat to become dehydrated. Senior dehydration can strike quickly especially in the frail. It is really important to make sure plenty of fluids are consumed to avoid dehydration.
Less Going In + More Going Out = Dehydration
It is a simple equation. Dehydration happens when someone take in less water than they lose. An elderly person spending just a few minutes in the Texas heat can quickly become dehydrated. Likewise, a frail elderly person who keeps their home too warm can also experience symptoms associated with dehydration.
Drinking Water is Not A Priority For a Lot Of Seniors
But it should be! The fact is, a person’s sense of thirst decreases with age. An elderly person may just not feel very thirsty. And others may be take medication that will cause dehydration. And some will report not drinking because they are afraid they will not make it to the bathroom in time.
Furthermore, many seniors complain they do not like the taste of water. It can be a real challenge for the caregiver to get someone to drink when they don’t want to.
Frustrated With Her Elderly Mom
Cecilia, reported that she tried everything to get her Mom Doris to drink fluids. Nothing seemed to work. She bought all kinds of juices and flavored drops to add to the water. She begged, reasoned and even threatened her mom. She told her the horrors of what would happen to her if she did not drink enough water. But it was all in vain.
Beatrice was set in her ways and refused to drink more fluids. And it seemed like the more she pushed her mom to drink more the harder Beatrice dug her heels in and refused. If was frustrating for both ladies.
Cecilia's Sister To The Rescue!
Then, Cecilia’s sister Jayne came up with a solution that Cecilia said was brilliant!
In fact, not only did her solution get Beatrice to drink more fluids, it improved her quality of life.
Mocktail Hour Begins
A ritual of making afternoon Mocktails began. Cecilia called it the “Mocktail Hour”. The “Mocktails’ had all of the look and feel of an alcoholic beverage minus the alcohol. With all of the different medications their mom was prescribed having a cocktail was a big no-no. But the Mocktails were okay. This was a big treat and Beatrice loved it!
Then Came the Company
Cecilia started inviting one of mom’s neighbors over to have a “drink” with her. Cecilia’s brother heard what the sisters were doing and joined in on the fun. And before you knew it he began dropping by after work a few times a week to enjoy a drink together.
“I feel like I have my Mom back again.” Jim said. “She is happy and fun to be around. I like dropping by now.”
Of course, Beatrice felt the same way. The grandchildren also began to drop by once or twice a week.
The Fun Lasted All Week Long
Each week, Cecilia and Doris would look at different Mocktail recipes on the internet and choose something new. And they made it fun. Jayne bought special glasses and napkins. A few snacks of fruit and cheese made it feel like a real party. They had special Mocktails for the 4th of July and Labor Day and any other day they could find to celebrate.
Here is Beatrice’s favorite Mocktail recipe. Since Doris had fresh mint growing in her backyard the Mojito Mocktail was a hit.
2 cups of water
1 ½ cups of sugar
2 cups of fresh mint leaves
Heat sugar and water in microwave safe bowl in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. Add the mint leaves and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes. Strain the syrup from the mint and set the mint leaves aside.
1 cup of lime juice
1 more cup of water
2 cups of lime sherbet
Stir together the lime sherbet, lime juice and water into a large pitcher. Pour the mint infused syrup into the pitcher then add
8 cups of club soda
Pour into glasses lined with the mint leaves on the bottom and garnish with a wedge of lime.
Getting Fluids Into Mom Was Never So Much Fun!
Now if that isn’t a fun way to get some fluids into Beatrice I don’t know what is! And the great news is it also provided Beatrice with a fun afternoon activity. She became the hit of the neighborhood with people stopping by for the Mocktail Hour. The young couple next door started bringing Beatrice other treats during the week and invited her to their BBQ.
Mother and daughter were no longer fighting about her not drinking enough and were able to have fun together again.
So where can you find these recipes? Town and Country magazine published 30 Mocktail recipes. Take a look here.
Pat Mack has been helping families make the right decisions to care for someone they love since 1997.
Email her today for more information.
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