2 litres a day for good hydration
The weather forecast this week (distinctly tropical) set me thinking about drinking (and not in a good way). The notion of drinking 2 litres of water every day is daunting enough for those of us fit and able and health conscious. But for our elderly parents who may be less mobile and frankly less interested in the health benefits, it must be even harder.
When Mum was in hospital after her stroke we were terrified that she wasn’t drinking enough. We brought in all manner of juices, fruit and concoctions, drank along with her and cajoled her. Whether we made a difference or not, who knows, but it made me realise the importance of being able to drink enough particularly when you’re frail and incapacitated.
Consequences of Dehydration
The consequences of dehydration can be downright uncomfortable in terms of thirst, drowsiness or dizziness but can also be both alarming in terms of UTIs, and potentially life threatening with kidney failure and even a stroke.
As people get older so they are likely to feel less thirsty. And for many, the trips to the kitchen and the loo are boring as it all takes so long, and potentially scary if they think they might fall, so drinking less is an obvious way to reduce the concern. The big battle is often to encourage them to drink on a regular basis. I think it’s a bit like getting kids to eat veg – you might need to dress it up a bit into something more exciting than just a good old cuppa or a glass of tepid tap water. So, here’s how I’m going to encourage more of the right kind of drinking and good hydration.
6 Ways to help elderly people keep hydrated
- Just eating lots of juicy fruit is a start – at this time of year that shouldn’t be too difficult; and it doesn’t have to be a whole orange or bunch of grapes and these days can be downright exotic with all those snack packs in supermarkets, perfect for a little and often menu;
- Spice up the tepid tap water; put it in a jug, with ice; maybe some lemon slices, or cucumber or even mint; go the whole hog with mineral or sparkling water.
- Mocktails; there are so many fruit juices and cordials around that you could make any number of delicious and hydrating concoctions;
- Glut from the garden; make smoothies or presses from gluts of fruit/veg from the garden – a great way to use up all manner of garden produce;
- Tea and coffee; while both are diuretics, still a good source of water – so the explosion in fancy teas particularly (both hot and cold) are a good excuse for a regular tea ceremony;
- Flasks; to save trips to the kitchen/downstairs, put lovely drinks in a flask that can be kept near to hand.
It feels weird thinking about how to get our parents to drink more – for goodness sake they survived the war. But, the consequences can be pretty dire, quite literally dying of thirst. If you’ve got some good ideas for encouraging elderly people to drink more, join our forum today. Read this sad tale of one woman’s fear of going to the loo in the night.