As the weather warms up, it is a good reminder to drink enough water each day to maintain healthy fluid levels and avoid dehydration.
Your body uses water to power all of its cells, organs, and tissues. Water is used in many of your body’s daily functions, even if you don’t notice them happening. One example is regulating your body temperature, water helps in this process, but it is a bodily function that you don’t notice until it isn’t working properly.
Seniors are at an increased risk for dehydration because age related challenges can impair many of their bodily functions. There are signs you can look for to detect dehydration, and strategies to keep seniors hydrated, as well as safety measures that Mavencare takes to protect senior clients.
Signs of Dehydration
By the time a senior feels thirsty, they could already be dehydrated.
There are other physical signs that can signal dehydration:
Dry mouth and/or dry skin
High heart rate
Low systolic blood pressure
Less frequent urination
You should always consult your senior loved one’s doctor or geriatric care manager to better understand their specific health conditions and the signs that could be predicting dehydration.
Strategies to Stay Hydrated
It is important for seniors to stay hydrated by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.
If your senior loved one dislikes water and refuses to drink it, offer it to them at different temperatures (i.e. cold, room temperature, or warm with lemon). If they still refuse, you could try mixing fruit juice with water to provide better tasting fluids without too much sugar. Pre-flavoured water or fruit infused water are two other water-based options to try.
Water is the healthiest fluid, but it’s not your only option. A summer treat like popsicles can be a fun way for your senior loved one to increase their fluid intake. Milkshakes and smoothies are other fun options.
Alcohol is a dehydrator and does not offer health benefits. If your senior loved one insists on drinking alcohol, try mixing it with water to dilute it, or encourage them to drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol.
Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea can cause more frequent urination, but they do offer hydration benefits that counteract their diuretic effects. If your senior loved one enjoys their morning coffee and/or afternoon tea, you can feel good about serving them something that is keeping them happy and healthy.
Serving your loved one beverages in easy to see and easy to hold cups can increase the amount of fluids they’ll drink in a day. This can include cups with a lid and straw for seniors who may struggle to hold a cup without shaking. More specialized drinkware may be necessary for seniors who have difficulty swallowing, arthritis, or other health conditions.
Fruits and Vegetables
You can also increase fluid intake with fruits and vegetables!
Fruits tend to be filled with more water compared to vegetables, but both sources are valuable. Adding a few handfuls of fruit to a yogurt snack, and cutting up celery and cucumbers to have on hand will help you keep your senior loved one hydrated.
If your loved one is incontinent, unable to control their urination or bowel movements, they may limit their fluid intake to avoid accidents.
Offer to help change your loved one’s briefs at regular intervals and do your best to make it a regular task that isn’t embarrassing. If your loved one continues to struggle, consider reaching out to a trained caregiver and/or therapist who can work with your loved one to better understand their resistance and how to reduce it.
How Mavencare Protects Seniors
At Mavencare, our compassionate caregivers are trained on hydration strategies and assisting seniors who have incontinence. If your senior loved one is at a high risk of becoming dehydrated, our nurses and clinical team will build specific health protocols into their care plan to prevent dehydration.
Certain medications can cause a higher risk of dehydration, so it is important that all risk factors are noted in your loved one’s care plan and taken into consideration by their caregivers and their doctors. With Mavencare, your loved one’s fluid levels will be closely monitored by their caregivers and our clinical team will be alerted if their fluid levels decrease. This means a seemingly small health update can help prevent an emergency.
If your loved one needs high quality home care, call one of our care coordinators today at 1-800-85MAVEN (1-800-856-2836).