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Stay Hydrated. Stay Healthy.

Article submitted by Visiting Angels. Visiting Angels is a national, private duty network of home care agencies.

As we age, staying hydrated becomes even more important. Water makes up over 60% of our body weight. It helps our body to regulate its temperature, move nutrients and waste, and keep our ears, nose and throat moisturized. It is essential to living a healthy life. Unfortunately, as we age our sense of thirst declines and the risk of dehydration increases.

How can you help your aging loved one stay hydrated?

  • Offer fluids throughout the day. Elderly individuals need to consume 48 to 64 fl. oz., or 6 to 8 glasses, of water each day. Make it easy for an elderly person to have access to and consume those fluids. Place water bottles or glasses near their favorite chairs around the house.
  • Have a variety of fluids on hand. While water is preferred to keep the body hydrated, it can be difficult and boring to keep drinking the same thing day after day. Having a variety of beverages on hand makes it easier to ensure your loved one is consuming the preferred amount of fluids each day. Fruit juices, vegetable juices and sparkling water are great ways to add variety to your fluid intake. If possible, do a mixture of half water and half juice to cut down on sugars and aid in water consumption.
  • Eat foods high in water content. Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of water, as much as 75%. Consuming two to three servings a day of fruits and vegetables can help to ensure your loved one stays hydrated. Watermelon is one of the best fruits for combating dehydration. Soups and ice pops are also a great way to increase fluid intake.
  • Stay away from diuretics. Some popular beverages can actually cause dehydration. Drinks like coffee, tea, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages can actually increase the risk of dehydration. Replace these drinks with water, fruit or vegetable juices, or drinks infused with electrolytes.
  • Keep track of what you drink. One of the hardest things about staying hydrated is to track those ounces. Try marking a water bottle with the number of ounces it contains so your loved one can see how much they are taking in throughout the day. Or create a chart so they can cross of each drink they consume. Try to make it fun and not a chore.

Staying hydrated isn’t always easy, but it is necessary. According to Larry Meigs, CEO of Visiting Angels, “We work closely with our elder care clients to ensure they are consuming enough fluids throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to many health risks. Our system of meal preparation and diet monitoring helps families to be confident their loved ones are staying hydrated at all times.”

If you are a family caregiver, be on the lookout for the warning signs of dehydrations. They can include:

  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Concentrated or decreased urine
  • Dry skin
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Labored speech
  • Sunken eyeballs

If you are concerned a family member is showing the effects of dehydration, please contact a doctor immediately.

*As always, please consult your doctor if you have any concerns about dehydration, staying hydrated or the general health of your loved one. This information is for informational purposes only.

More about Visiting Angels

Visiting Angels is a national, private duty network of home care agencies. We are proud to be the nation’s leading provider of non-medical senior home care services. Our Angels provide in-home care, respite care, senior personal care, elderly care and companion care services. With our senior home care services, elderly adults can continue to live independently in their own homes.

© 2013, All Rights Reserved by Visiting Angels

Posted August 2013 on