Keeping Your Elderly Loved One Hydrated

During the hottest months of the year, staying properly hydrated is more important than ever. Water is essential to each of our bodily functions, but according to a study from the University of California, up to 40% of elderly people are chronically under-hydrated. Keeping your elderly loved one hydrated is essential to their overall bodily function, but doing so isn’t as easy as it once was.

Keeping Your Elderly Loved One Hydrated

Why is dehydration more likely to impact older adults?

A common problem family caregivers face is whether or not their loved one is getting enough water. Mild dehydration is unfortunately prevalent among older adults for a number of reasons.

  • The body changes as one ages, leaving them with less water internally.
  • Appetite and thirst diminish with age.
  • Seniors may take medication that increases the chance of dehydration.
  • Seniors experiencing cognitive decline may forget to drink water.
  • Physical disability can lead seniors to drink less water so they don’t have to go to the bathroom as often.

What are the signs of dehydration?

With how important water is to our bodily function, it’s no surprise that it can cause a myriad of health problems. If your loved one expresses any of these symptoms, address it as soon as possible before it grows more severe.

  • Dry mouth
  • Cramping
  • Headaches
  • Body weakness
  • Low urine output
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation

If the symptoms of dehydration aren’t addressed, it can grow into life-threatening problems. The symptoms of severe hydration include:

  • Rapid but weak heart rate
  • Sunken eyes
  • Low blood pressure
  • No sweating
  • Convulsions
  • Bloated stomach
  • Kidney failure

How you can keep your elderly loved one hydrated

Despite causing such debilitating problems, dehydration is rather easy to fix (assuming it hasn’t progressed to severe stages). Start with these tips to keep your loved one hydrated.

Know their medications

Certain medications can lead seniors to be dehydrated more quickly than average. Speak with your loved one’s primary physician about the medications they are currently taking and write down any side effects. If dehydration is one of them, discuss whether or not increasing their normal fluid intake is necessary.

Stay hydrated for your health

Make water easily accessible

Sometimes, seniors may be less inclined to drink water because of the effort of getting up and pouring themselves a glass. So, make it simple for them. In the rooms they spend more time, keep a water bottle or lightweight pitcher nearby their favorite seat. This will make it far easier and more convenient to stay hydrated.

Diversity in their liquid intake

While water is always the best avenue for hydration, there are plenty of other liquids that will help. If your loved one seriously resists drinking water, you may have to make the occasional trade-off. Fruit juice, tea, and even coffee all contain water and will help your loved one stay hydrated. It just shouldn’t be their only source of water intake.

You should also see if the temperature of your loved one’s beverages makes a difference. They may prefer a glass of warm water over ice cold. Test a few different temperatures to see what they prefer.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

Raw fruits and vegetables are fantastic sources of water. For just a few examples, cucumbers are 96% water, tomatoes are 94%, and watermelon is 92%. Not only will these satisfy your loved one with a filling snack—they will make sure they are consuming enough water. Remember—cooking these fruits and vegetables will reduce the amount of water, so avoid doing that.

Receive additional support with home care

Ensuring that your elderly loved one stays adequately hydrated is an essential aspect of their overall well-being. As a family caregiver, this is just another one of the many tasks you must keep on top of. You may find yourself overwhelmed by all the intricacies of care, and that is totally normal. Even the most experienced caregivers need help occasionally.

When you need assistance providing optimal care, Home Care Powered by AUAF is here to help. With our dedicated team of caregivers, we can provide professional and compassionate home care services tailored to meet the unique needs of your loved one. For more information, call us at 773-274-9262.

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