If you are a caregiver for an elderly family member, you probably already know such care can be more complicated than it sounds. Older adults often want to maintain their independence, yet need help with everyday tasks.
Some may need reminders to bathe, take medications, and help to maintain nutritional standards. One aspect of health that all seniors, even those with sharp mental awareness, should pay attention to is staying hydrated.
Why Focus on Hydration for Seniors
Although hydration is important for people at all stages in life, dehydration is often an overlooked health risk for seniors. Being hydrated is important for maintaining health and critical bodily functions. Dehydration can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, confusion, headaches, kidney problems, and an elevated heart rate.
Changes that happen with age can affect a person’s ability to maintain hydration. It benefits older adults when staying hydrated is a focus point of their health, more so than in years past. Here are three reasons why monitoring hydration is especially important for seniors:
1. Loss of Ability to Sense Thirst
Older adults may have a diminished ability to sense thirst. Because of this, many seniors don’t drink enough fluids, which can unfortunately lead to hospital visits. By the time a senior is thirsty, they are likely to already be dehydrated.
2. Body Composition Changes
With age, body composition adjusts such that older adults hold less water in their bodies. With less stored water, the body can’t rely on reserves if no fluid is being consumed.
3. Medication Effects
Certain medications can have a dehydrating effect. Be sure to consult with your loved one’s doctor about their medication and what effects it may cause.
If you are caring for an elderly person, it is important to monitor and promote adequate hydration levels. If you depend on our friendly, well-educated caregivers for in-home respite care, you can be assured that they consider hydration a high priority for those they look after.
How to Help Seniors Prevent Dehydration
Thankfully, there are ways to reduce chances that your loved one will become dehydrated. Here are six simple ways to help older adults stay hydrated.
1. Consult with Their Doctor
A healthcare professional will be able to provide guidance on how much water your loved one should drink. Not everyone has the same requirements, and it can change with climates, seasons, and their medications.
2. Maintain a Fluid Intake Schedule
Drinking water throughout the day instead of all at once is a great way of maintaining hydration. Consider activities, especially those that cause sweat, and be sure your loved one replenishes fluid loss.
3. Include Water-Rich Foods in Their Diet
Drinking water and other fluids isn’t the only way to hydrate the body. Eating foods high in water such as apples, cucumber, tomatoes, peaches, watermelon, and zucchini not only increase nutrient intake but also fluid intake.
4. Make Water more Flavorful
It’s easier to do something when it’s more fun! Adding flavor with tea or small amounts of juice to water can make it more appealing and more likely to be consumed without resistance. Popsicles are also an enjoyable way to stay hydrated in the warmer months.
5. Take Note of Fluid Loss
Excessive sweating can contribute to dehydration. Maintain a comfortable, cool temperature at home to reduce water loss. Sweating with activities or outdoor heat should be something of which you take note. Your senior loved one may need to increase their fluid intake if they are sweating more than usual.
6. Encourage Fluid Intake
A gentle reminder to drink fluids or eat water-rich foods is a simple yet effective way to reduce risk of dehydration. Sometimes us humans just need a reminder.
All Seasons Homecare Can Help
At All Seasons Homecare we provide exceptional in-home care services for disabled adults and seniors in Pleasant Hill, Contra Costa County, and the tri-valley area of Alameda County. Our compassionate caregivers are well-trained, experienced, and knowledgeable about the physical and emotional needs of older adults. Those who trust our team to care for their loved ones know that we treat our clients like our own family.
Our All Seasons Homecare team can assist with transportation to doctor’s visits, meal preparation, medication reminders, and support healthy hydration levels. If you are looking for in-home respite care or age-in-place home care send us a message or give us a call at (925) 363-4900 today!