Senior Dehydration- 5 Tips to Get Mom to Hydrate
Keeping seniors hydrated can be a bit tricky. A senior who lives with dementia, even more so. They may not recognize their thirst, or simply forget to take fluids at all.
Incontinence can also be a concern and they may not take any fluids out of fear during an outing. But keeping our elders hydrated doesn’t have to be a chore. It also doesn’t always need to be water.
5 Tips to Get Mom to Hydrate
Keeping enough water in your system helps your body function. As we age, these functions may need a bit more encouragement. That’s why staying hydrated is so important.
1. Use Flavors
While water is ideal for hydrating, it can be a bit boring. Some people may not want to drink water. Seniors or those with dementia may not want to drink water at all.
Adding a bit of flavor can help. Add in some lemon or orange to the water to make it taste better. Encourage them to drink fruit juices, sports drinks, herbal teas, or even broth.
Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or high concentrations of sugar. Many soups, fruit juices, or sports drinks have nutrients that not only help with hydration, but overall health.
2. Fruit and Vegetables Can Help With Senior Dehydration
Many fruits and vegetables are mostly water. Salads with leafy greens and other vegetables can help add nutrients. Cucumbers, tomatoes, celery all contain a lot of water.
Use lemon juice rather than a cream-based dressing to give it flavor. Keep fruit around at the ready for snacking. Grapes, strawberries, watermelon are all excellent sources of vitamins and water.
You can use fruits and vegetables in a smoothie or blend them up with ice for a refreshing drink. These can be made up and kept in the fridge to be enjoyed throughout the day.
3. Set Up a Hydration Schedule
Making sure they get water or fluids on a regular schedule will keep them hydrated. That way, you or their caregiver will know they are getting enough fluids.
Perhaps offer them a drink every hour. It should be something they enjoy. Sit down and drink with them. They may not want to drink a lot. A small glass of water, even a few sips is better than none at all.
That way, whoever is looking after them will know how much they have had and when. Make note of how much they had to drink and what it was. Choose something they like, or something similar.
4. Make it an Event
Rather than trying to force someone to have water, make it an event. Make an announcement for tea time, for instance. Maybe set up a bar and have a mocktail hour.
Join them for a drink, regardless of when it is. It will seem more natural that way. Take five minutes and have a drink and a chat. If you drink with them, it will seem more like fun than a must.
Let them feel they are engaging in a social event. They may not only drink more but actually look forward to it. If you join them, they don’t feel singled out.
5. Make Water Accessible
Keep a bottle or glass of water close to them. Keep it in sight and within reach. Use a bottle, mug, or glass that they really like. Let them drink water out of a champagne glass if that helps to encourage them.
If the water or drink is always at hand, they will be reminded. Keep the bottle or glass fresh and topped up. Often, just seeing their favorite glass or a pretty bottle will encourage them.
This is important if people have mobility issues or don’t have the ability to help themselves to drinks. Keeping it within reach will help them feel more independent.
Dehydration in Seniors
Certain medications can make their dehydration even worse. Encourage them to drink a full glass of water when they take their medications. With older people and people with dementia, it can be difficult to tell if they are dehydrated.
It’s important that they are monitored every day and encouraged to take water and other fluids. If people are worried about incontinence, it can make it harder.
The older people get, they may not recognize the signs of thirst. This can lead to other health problems. Even one day without enough water can have a damaging effect.
If someone already lives with dementia, even more severe signs of dehydration may be masked. Confusion, fatigue, mood swings, headaches, and weakness. For those with limited mobility, it is vital they are monitored closely.
If your mom lives in a care home, they should keep track of how much she drinks, and what she is having. Whoever is with her needs to understand her normal behavior to recognize the signs of dehydration.
A small Residential Care Home like Light Heart Memory Care is able to give someone with this disease the extra care and attention they need.
Light Heart Memory Care homes are specially designed for 8 residents. This gives us the ability to give personalized care to each and every resident.
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In honor of our founder Pat Mack, we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in "The Light Heart Way"