It's summer, and the younger generations have picked out new, brightly colored water bottles to carry along to their many activities - one is insulated stainless steel, another touts being "BPA free." While carrying water along for summer activities has become second nature in the last few decades, today's seniors were not barraged with information on the importance of hydration during their formative years. Grandma doesn't count her ounces; Grandpa no longer shows any signs of thirst most of the time.
Whether due to normal aging or reactions to medications, many seniors do not experience strong or frequent thirst. Others find themselves reluctant to drink due to incontinence issues or the simple challenge of reduced mobility - if I drink, I will need to get up again to use the restroom.
Still, hydration is vital to senior health. Since no one likes to be lectured, how is a caregiver to help ensure that it happens?
- Visual Prompting - make sure water and other desirable beverages are out, visible, easily accessible, and presented in an attractive manner. A favorite mug paired with a pretty napkin might hold more allure than a plain glass.
- Consider Temperature - rarely does anyone crave a lukewarm beverage. Perhaps Grandma prefers a cup of hot herbal tea with a sprig of mint. Perhaps Grandpa enjoys a frosted mug and a wedge of lemon for his ice water.
- Less is More - while younger folks might like the 41 oz. Slurpee cup on a hot day, seniors may be turned off by the size. Present drinks in 6-8 oz increments.
- Guerrilla Tactics - for a more subtle increase in water content, encourage your loved one to indulge in snacks of fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which are 90% or more water.
- Pair It with Companionship - sit down with Grandma for a shared drink and conversation. She's likely to mirror your sipping behavior, and you will both be blessed by the interaction.
- Avoid Sabotage - diuretics and caffeine-laden drinks work against hydration; try to minimize offering things like coffee and alcohol.
These helpful tips and a generous dose of empathy will take you a long way in helping your loved one to maintain proper hydration and, in the long run, good health.
At Caring Senior Service, our expert staff is comprised of extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and trusted professionals who take pride in helping your loved one manage their daily activities. Contact us today to learn more!