Did you know that individuals with dementia and those who are simply dehydrated many times look, think and act just alike? Did you know that dry, flaky, wrinkled and sagging skin is often due to dehydration and not just aging? Regularly drinking Coconut Water and other beverages can enhance the picture of a person’s mental and physical condition.
For the elderly, dehydration often hides in “plain sight”, going unnoticed until a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider closely examines him or her. Their ability to actually feel thirsty may be diminished or even absent seemingly.
An elderly person can spend years going about their business at home and elsewhere being insidiously dragged down by dehydration-the lack of enough fluids for the body to optimally function.
Dehydration can be an emergency for a senior. Here are my home care tips. Hopefully my personal experience can make a difference.
Make Sure They Can See The Water
- Present plain water in a clear pitcher-the water looks much more inviting. Make sure that your senior can always see water in the pitcher.
- Avoid the pretty pink hospital pitchers that are opaque-you never know how much water has been consumed. The water is just not visible, and it's not coyly begging to be sipped.
- Keep a half-full glass of faucet water in a clear crystal glass, with a straw, always in view and within reach of your senior-this also looks inviting.
Push Water and Beverages
- Offer plain or coconut water after each trip to the bathroom-after urination. Be firm, insistent and do not accept "no". It's critical to replace the fluid loss.
- Try to get a formal agreement with your senior to drink fluids before and after all meals, and any other time you offer water to them before 3pm.
- Offer water, milk or other beverages to the elderly person anytime you, yourself get a drink.
Encourage Drinking and Not Just Sipping
Develop Workarounds To Stubbornness
- Serve watery fruits and vegetables like cantaloupes, watermelon and peaches after 6pm if your senior refuses to drink plain water after that time.
- Do provide coffee, tea, milk and sugary drinks as requested as a matter of respect.
- Try to make drinking beverages a formal occasion-heck I even thought about placing one of those tiny colorful umbrellas in a glass.
Get Medical Help
- Ask visiting nurses and aides to closely examine your senior for dehydration signs that you may not notice.
- Ask doctors and nurses to occasionally remind a hesitant senior that they can be hooked-up to a medical device that will pump fluid in them if they don’t drink enough water.
- Stay informed on senior hydration issues and solutions by reading health articles online or asking healthcare providers.