Summer is a time of excessive heat, and whether you’re indoors or outdoors, it’s important to keep yourself properly hydrated. Dehydration is a very real threat and should be taken seriously, especially for older adults. Even if your loved ones don’t feel thirsty, they still need H2o to help their bodies function efficiently in the heat.
Water may not be your loved one’s first choice, but you should opt for it, more than not, to give their bodies what they need because their sense of thirst will naturally diminish with age. There are also certain medical conditions and medications that can potentially affect your loved one’s body’s ability to retain fluids. Laxatives, diuretics, antihistamines and antipsychotics are all possibilities you should keep in mind.
If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, your loved one is likely dehydrated:
- Low blood pressure
- Weak pulse
- Dark or amber-colored urine
- Rapid breathing and heartbeat
- Cold hands or feet
- Dizziness, confusion or irritability
Don’t let your loved ones become dehydrated. Take the right precautions to keep them healthy and safe. Read on for four tips to help them stay hydrated this summer.
Balance Fluid Intake with Output
Frequent sweating and urination calls for a more frequent fluid intake. If fever, vomiting or diarrhea is involved, proper hydration is even more critical. Your loved ones should consume at least 64 ounces of water per day, and when suffering from an illness, even more. Think eight glasses of water or about four 16 ounce water bottles to reach the daily 64 ounce goal.
When they take their medication, encourage 8 ounces of fluid intake to wash it down and get it into their systems. If your loved ones don’t want to drink water, try serving it at a temperature they like – whether it be room temp or cold.
Try an Alternative to Water
Sometimes water may not be an option, and if it’s not, try an alternative. There are plenty of water enhancers out there that can make a plain glass of water taste better. Chicken, beef and vegetable broth are also a great source of electrolytes and fluids. For something sweet, give your loved one a Popsicle, smoothie or milkshake that’s low in sugar. If they need to retain more calories, this is another great way to incorporate them into their daily routine.
Carefully Choose Drinkware
The color or design on a cup could make or break your success in properly hydrating your loved one, especially those with lower vision. A bright or opaque cup with a nice pattern or design could make a glass of water or other beverage more appetizing. You can even try to make it more appealing by using a garnish, like an orange or apple slice.
Educate on Hydrating Foods
As you may already know, certain foods contain more water than others, and therefore have the power to hydrate when consumed. Try to incorporate the following foods into your loved one’s diet:
- Green cabbage
- Bell pepper
Of course not everyone will like all of the foods listed above, so determine how you can incorporate what they do like into what they’re already consuming. If your loved one has yogurt or cereal in the morning for breakfast, add fresh fruit to it. If they like sandwiches for lunch, add fresh slices of tomato or lettuce.
It can be a challenge to get your loved ones to consume the amount of water their bodies need, especially during the warmer summer months. However, a lack of fluids can pose as a very serious health risk and can even lead to death if not properly addressed.
With age, our body’s ability to conserve water is reduced, and we become more susceptible to fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Get creative with the ways you present fluids to your loved ones. Whether it’s through foods that are high in H2o or the use of appealing drinkware, it’s important to figure out what works for your loved one so you can instill it in their daily routine to keep them properly hydrated.