The human body is made up of 60 percent water, which means adequate hydration is necessary to maintain bodily functions. Seniors, however, may not drink enough fluids. Dehydration is dangerous. Preventing dehydration in the elderly is readily achieved with help from family members and caregivers.
Older adults have a high risk for dehydration. In fact, dehydration is one of the most common reasons for hospitalizations in seniors over the age of 65. Studies conducted by UCLA find that 40 percent of aging people experience chronic underhydration.
Hydration in the elderly is important for numerous health reasons. Seniors who are dehydrated suffer from complications, like loss of balance, constipation, kidney issues and electrolyte imbalance. Severe dehydration is life-threatening, as fluids are no longer available to carry blood to the organs.
Seniors have a high-risk factor for dehydration due to the natural effects of aging. Older adults have a weaker thirst response, so they do not realize they need to drink fluids. Aging people have decreased kidney function, which causes more water to be eliminated through urination.
Aging people tend to have fewer water reserves, which simply means that the body contains less fluids. Sufficient water reserves are necessary for everyday bodily functions. Seniors may also have health conditions or take medications that lead to increased water loss through urination.
Plus, older adults with mild dementia may forget to drink water throughout the day, as they are less sensitive to thirst. People with moderate dementia may forget how to drink or where the cups are stored. Advanced dementia causes patients to be unable to express thirst to caregivers.
Ensuring daily hydration in seniors is critical to overall health. Aging adults who drink the recommended amounts of water throughout the day are better able to maintain blood pressure, eliminate waste, help their bodies digest food, and regulate bodily temperatures through sweating.
1.Smart Bottles Help Reach Hydration Goals
Caregivers can utilize a number of techniques to ensure their elderly loved ones drink enough fluids each day. Recent innovations include the smart cup, or alternately known as a smart bottle. The smart bottle is designed to promote healthy hydration in users.
The smart bottle (or cup) measures and records the user’s daily consumption of water. The bottle vibrates when it is time to drink more fluids. Tech-savvy seniors can utilize the companion app to track progress toward hydration goals. Others may view the bottle’s LED lights to see their achievements.
2.Hydration Apps Monitor Fluid Intake
Just as countless variations of smart bottles are available, so too are the number and variety of hydration apps. Via this recent technology, seniors receive regular reminders to drink fluids. Apps allow users to set the target intake or use a built-in calculator to determine appropriate goals.
Intuitive apps utilize the senior’s body weight to calculate the right daily intake of fluids. Progress may be readily viewed on the apps, which further encourages seniors to stay hydrated. Activity levels are also incorporated into the apps. The app then correctly calculates the recommended amount of hydration.
While some apps may be purchased for a nominal price, many are free with in-app purchases. Hydration apps are an excellent way for seniors and their caregivers to keep track of individual progress over a seven-day period or up to a 30-day period.
3.Caregivers Monitor for Signs of Dehydration
Seniors who are unable to manage a hydration app may rely on their caregivers to ensure that a healthy amount of liquids are consumed each day. Professional caregivers who are experienced in caring for the elderly will be the first to notice when signs of dehydration are present.
Several behavioral changes are likely to occur when a senior does not consume enough liquids. In seniors with dementia, the patient may experience worsened confusion; or, a change in typical behavior will point to the possibility that dehydration has set in.
A caregiver will also respond appropriately if the senior exhibits other signs of dehydration, such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and muscle cramping. Upon providing bathroom assistance, the caregiver may notice darker-colored urine as a sign of dehydration in the senior.
Professional caregivers provide the elderly with hydration options. A senior who resists drinking plain water throughout the day may find juice, tea, or flavored water to be a more agreeable alternative. Caregivers implement creative tactics to help dementia patients drink enough liquids.
Liquids may be consumed via sweet treats, like popsicles, hot chocolate, Jell-O, ice cream and applesauce. Caregivers may prepare broth-based soups to ensure the care recipient consumes liquids. Serving fruits and vegetables is a healthy way to incorporate liquids into the senior’s daily diet.
Preventing dehydration in the elderly, especially those living with dementia, may be readily achieved with a strategic combination of smart cups/bottles, hydration apps and home care from professional caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care. We provide a range of compassionate nonmedical care.
Dementia caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care are trained to identify the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. When dementia patients wander, for instance, our caregivers gently lead them back to the safety of the home environment.
Incontinence issues in the elderly are treated discreetly by our caregivers. We assist seniors in using the bathroom, getting dressed, bathing and grooming. If frustration ensues as a result of dementia, our caregivers respond with compassion and skill to help the senior return to a calmer state of mind.
In addition to our comprehensive Alzheimer’s and dementia care services, our caregivers provide in-home support in all the activities of daily living. We prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, perform light housekeeping, and offer transportation to doctor’s offices and for errands.
Families with seniors living in the surrounding communities of Deerfield, Buffalo Grove, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lake Zurich, Lincolnshire, Mundelein, Vernon Hills, IL are encouraged to consult Assisting Hands Home Care for dedicated elder care services. Call us at 847) 595-1222 for an initial assessment, and we’ll develop a customized care plan to preserve their health and well-being.