Drinking water regularly helps fight dehydration in the elderly. As our loved ones age, their nutritional needs change.
As their calorie intake decreases due to a lack of physical activity, the need for nutrients such vitamins, minerals, water, and proteins become more important.
When seniors get older, unfortunately, they tend to get less nutrition, which could jeopardize their health and quality of life due to their bodies' nutritional deficiencies.
This is caused by taking more medications, chronic health conditions, preparing meals less frequently, a lack of thirst, fear of having to have to go to the bathroom and other factors.
One of the deficiencies is dehydration. Hydration decreases during the hot and humid days of summer. Dehydration in the elderly can become a serious health issue and often lead to hospitalization.
Symptoms of Hydration
Symptoms of dehydration in the elderly include drowsiness, confusion, headaches, dizziness, less urinating, dark urine, dry mouth and belabored speech.
But there are ways to fight dehydration in the elderly and steer them in the direction of healthy aging.
Here's what to do to help your loved ones practice better nutrition and increase hydration habits to prevent medical attention.
How to Avoid Dehydration in Elderly Folks
Here's how to defend elderly folks against hydration.
1. Drinking Lots of Water
Water is one of the major fluids to help keep people hydrated. Make sure your loved one has a glass of water with every meal.
A good idea is to keep a container of water nearby within reach. This makes water accessible and avoids a trip to the kitchen.
When they go to the restroom, have them drink a glass of water. You can put a small glass on the bathroom sink to encourage this.
Fill a pitcher of water for them to drink for the day and keep it cold. Seeing it visually will help remind them to take a drink.
You can spruce up the taste of ordinary water with some flavor.
Add lemon or orange slices, drop in a few mint leaves or even some frozen or fresh fruits like strawberries or blueberries, a good antioxidant.
If your loved one doesn't like their water ice cold, cold water can be sensitive to their teeth or cause mouth pain, serve it at room temperature.
If you're using a water bottle, make it a small one so it's easier to hold and drink than more that's heavier. This helps especially if they are weak.
2. Other Beverages That Help Dehydration in the Elderly
Plain water isn't your only option to help hydration. When seniors don't want to drink plain water, you can enhance it. There are other alternatives you can try. Hydrate them with a healthy beverage.
Try getting water enhancers or pre-flavored waters. One with electrolytes is even better for hydration. Make a pitcher with half juice and half water to liven up the taste. Using oranges will give them a dose of vitamin C in their water.
The way you serve beverages to an elderly person can encourage them to drink it. If they enjoy a cup of tea, pour them a cup of fruity tea to increase the likelihood of them consuming the beverage.
Try serving drinks at different temperatures and see what they prefer. A little experimenting can motivate your loved one to drink more liquids when they enjoy them at a particular temperature.
3. Serve Sweet and Savory Fluids
Add some savory flavor and give your loved one warm beef, vegetable or chicken broth. They provide a good source of fluids and electrolytes and can make hydration more of a meal.
Do they have a sweet tooth? Help them hydrate with a smoothie, a milkshake or a popsicle. You can freeze your own by putting fruit juices in the freezer. All these functions as tasty alternatives for fluids.
4. Food Can Help Fight Dehydration, Too
Most people think of beverages as the only means of hydration, but foods also provide a good source of hydration, too.
Raw veggies and fruits are a great way to hydrate as well. For instance, slice up some vegetables like celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices or bell peppers. These veggies all contain lots of water.
Dip them in hummus or some healthy ranch dressing. You can even make your own dressing if you have the inclination.
These foods also make nutrition-filled snacks.
Foods rich in high water content:
- Oranges - 1 medium contains 97% of water
- Cucumbers - 1 cup sliced contains 96% of water
- Tomatoes - 1 medium contains 94% of water
- Bell peppers - 3/4 cup contains 92% of water
- Watermelon - 1 cup diced contains 92% of water
- Cantaloupe - 1 wedge contains 90% of water
- Blueberries - 1 cup contains 85% of water
- Apples - 1 medium contains 84% of water
If your loved one doesn't care for uncooked fruits and vegetables, try adding them to other foods. Sprinkle fresh berries to yogurt or a couple of slices of tomato to a sandwich. Or chop up some celery and add it to tuna fish.
There are several alternatives to satisfy your loved one's taste buds. And they can help them hydrate without significantly altering the amount of liquid they have to drink.
5. Brighten It Up With Drinkware
Drinkware can make the difference of you loved one wanting to take a drink. Make drinking beverages a little fun by putting them in a colorful glass with a fun design. Adding a straw to can make it easier to drink a beverage.
Additionally, a person with a poor vision can see a brightly colored glass more easily which can motivate them to drink from it more frequently.
Seniors may find a beverage more appealing when they drink it from an attractive glass. Try making a smoothie with an antique glass and garnish it with some fruit on the rim on the glass.
When your loved one needs specialized drinkware due to tremors, handshaking, arthritis, muscle weakness or motor skill issues, get a cup with two handles, a built-in straw, no-spill lid to prevent spills and frustration.
Final Words on Dehydration in the Elderly
Follow these guidelines to make it easier for your loved one to get the hydration they need. Remember, you can hydrate in more ways than just with water!
Our company cares about you and your loved one's hydration health. Visit our website today to learn more about us and read some great content about health and wellness or shop for healthy beverages and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!