Hydration in any weather is vital. When you’re caring for elderly parents, pay close attention to how much water and other beverages they’re drinking. They may not be drinking anywhere near enough and that will impact their health.
Too little fluids can lead to dehydration. That can damage your organs like your heart and brain. It can dry out the skin. It also increases the risk of a UTI. Why? Proper hydration has people emptying their bladder regularly, which keeps flushing out bacteria. If your parents aren’t staying hydrated, bacteria can build and lead to infection.
In an elderly adult, a UTI may not present the same way it would in a younger adult. It can cause confusion, agitation, and anger. You may not associate that with a UTI and put off seeking medical treatments. If your mom or dad has a UTI, it’s best to get it treated ASAP and prevent it from spreading to the kidneys.
How Do You Make Sure Your Parents Drink Enough?
How much water is enough? It varies from one person to the next. It used to be the recommendation was eight 8-ounce glasses per day, which came to 1.89 liters. That falls short of the recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The newer recommendations are 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women.
What’s important to remember is that 20 percent of the daily intake of water comes from foods. If you get your parents to eat foods with a higher water content, you can help them stay hydrated. Watermelon, oranges, and celery are good options.
Monitoring Water Intake
Look for water bottles that contain markings to measure how much you drink. Some of these cups have audible alarms to alert you if you haven’t had a drink in a while. Other cups have flashing lights. Fill a bottle in the morning for your parents and keep an eye on how much they drink each hour. If they’re not drinking enough, you can remind them.
Make a Glass of Water More Appealing
There are ways to make water more appealing if your parents refuse water. Add slices of lemon, orange, or lime. Place frozen berries in the cup and use them like ice cubes. You can also make herbal teas (iced or hot) and get your parents to drink those instead.
Bubbly seltzer may be a more satisfying option. Make sure you buy seltzer and not club soda. Club soda adds sodium, which increases your parents’ salt intake.
Caregivers can also help your parents stay hydrated. Arrange home care services and have caregivers available each day to monitor your parents’ drinking habits and offer encouragement to drink more.
If you or an aging loved one is considering caregivers in Edina, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.