Just about all of us living in Bel Air and elsewhere should be doing do a better job at keeping ourselves hydrated, and it’s even more of a challenge to keep our loved ones drinking enough fluids as well.
But doing so will be able to help our health and their health in so many ways, whether they’re receiving palliative care or standard care.
The staff at Accredited Home Care is always happy to help remind people to make sure they drink regularly along with everyone else in their household or also can offer some useful strategies to create better ways to remind people to drink more without being demanding about it.
After all, staying hydrated is vital for every age, but effects from lack of water, called dehydration, can happen faster and also be more damaging for many seniors.
It can quickly lead to a variety of symptoms from feeling a little light-headed to collapse to low blood volume shock to seizures.
Being more dehydrated than usual can also be a sign of other serious health conditions.
The Mayo Clinic said this can be caused by diarrhea, influenza or bronchitis. Being in the heat too long can also aggravate hydration. Certain medications may increase the possibility of dehydration.
Staying well hydrated provides energy, stamina, and endurance. How much fluid remains a matter of debate, however. Health officials used to universally suggest eight glasses of water a day, but this has turned into more of a guideline for “drink enough.”
Regardless of the required or recommended amounts, water is important especially for older adults, especially those who may sometimes forget how much they’ve consumed or the last time they had a drink.
Try these strategies to remind them to drink more often to help their health.
- Ask them to help you with your hydration. People with dementia or other memory-related conditions may not remember to drink themselves, so they likely won’t be able to monitor consumption. But they might be happy to join you in having water throughout the day, especially if you make it part of a ritual. Inviting them to join you in a glass of water each day at breakfast, lunch or dinner could be something you enjoy sharing.
- Avoid talking about water. Because some people may think that water is plain, boring, unappetizing or uninteresting, they may refuse to drink it if given the choice. But if you provide other beverages made from water, such as coffee, tea, juices or flavored water, this may be more appealing for someone wanting to make a choice based on taste. This can include non-water beverages, foods like broths, soups or vegetables, or certain fruits known for their juice. Even a recognizable cup every meal. Beware that some non-water beverages have high caffeine content and could act as a stimulant which could actually promote dehydration. Some juices may include extra sugars or artificial flavorings.
- Think small. Seniors may no longer have the appetite or stamina to drink a full glass of water or more in one sitting. So inviting or requiring them to drink and keep on drinking to get their required amount could be difficult and even unpleasant. Instead, consider asking them to have smaller amounts of fluid throughout the day, rather than larger amounts at specific times. Rather than worrying about forgetting one big serving and having to double up, they’ll simply have a drink whenever they go through the kitchen.
- Put water in a pitcher or container that displays certain visible measurement units on it, and then fill daily to the same amount. This will give everyone in the household a visual reminder of what has already been consumed and what still is remaining for the day. Even if a senior doesn’t remember drinking something earlier in the day, they can be assured that they have based on the current level of water. This does require some caution in case other people are using the same container, so perhaps one option would be to create a different container for everyone in a household.
- Reduce fear. Some seniors may be concerned about drinking too much water, thinking it could trigger incontinence, an embarrassing social situation. So they may limit their water intake to sure there aren’t any problems later and they’re not near a bathroom. Or they can also want to perform their drinking during the early part of the day, and less later in the day.
Overall, there are plenty of other strategies to improve water consumption or even detect if someone isn’t having enough.
It’s also a good occasion to join in the celebration of World Water Day, a United Way program marked on March 22 that celebrates the universal human right of water. It encourages everyone to learn, share and conserve water. The staff at Accredited Home Care is firm believers in the power of water and hydration. They’ll ask clients how much water they’ve been drinking and reinforce the need to have more.