Preventing dehydration in the elderly is challenging, especially since people lose their ability to detect thirst as they age. Creating a system that allows older people to track their water intake is ideal. With a good idea of how much water has been consumed, you don’t have to rely on guesswork to determine whether you have reached your needed quota for water during the day.
Understanding Dehydration in the Elderly
As the body ages, senior citizens usually begin taking medications to assist with maintaining their health. Many of these medications can increase the chances of becoming dehydrated. For instance, blood pressure medications regulate blood pressure but can also move water through the body at a much quicker pace. During the summer, drinking water is particularly vital to seniors, but ample fluids year round ensure optimal health and comfort.
For elderly people who aren’t in an assisted living home, at home care for seniors can be a big help in getting enough fluids. Begin by preparing a system to determine the amount of water needed per day. For most seniors, about seventy ounces of fluids are needed. During warmer weather, the amount of water consumed should go up significantly, especially when living in a home without air conditioning. Opting to store water in a marked container in the refrigerator is an easy way to see how much water has been consumed every day, and will also keep the water cool enough to enjoy.
Drinking up to seventy ounces of water a day can be a challenge for seniors who have a reduced appetite – a common aspect of aging for most. Opting to find a solution that incorporates more fluids in the diet is a good way to increase water intake without the need to consume too much water for comfort. For example, choosing to consume fruits with high water content, such as watermelon, can help hydrate while also providing needed nourishment.
Even when choosing foods high in water, seniors need to drink plenty of non-caffeinated, water-based drinks to stay healthy. Herbal teas are a good option for seniors, although some herbs should be avoided when taking medications. A home health aide can assist you in finding a solution to remaining hydrated without reducing your appetite for healthy foods even further. When considering dehydration and the elderly, personal preferences for drinks can become very important.
Making Water Palatable
Drinking plain water is definitely a chore for some seniors who may not like the taste of plain water. There are some additions that can make water taste better without adding a lot of calories or unnecessary sugar to the diet. For example, adding lemon slices to ice water can be very refreshing on a hot day. Cucumber slices are also a good choice for summer, but you can add any fruit that you like for a splash of flavor.
When keeping water in the refrigerator, add fruit directly to the pitcher of water to drink throughout the day. For seniors on the go, filling several water bottles with the recommended amount of water for the day is an option. A home health aide can provide at home elder care to prevent dehydration by preparing and refrigerating the water, ensuring there is always a cool drink to rehydrate.