Watching out for the health and nutritional needs of elderly relatives can be tricky for family caregivers. Not only must they help with bathing, dressing, cleaning and driving, but they must shop for and make nutritious meals. One aspect of an elderly person’s health that is easy to overlook is whether they are getting enough fluids as part of their diet.
Dehydration is very common in the elderly, yet the signs of the condition can be hard to spot. Besides promoting regular drinks all day, family caregivers can serve food that also helps hydrate seniors.
What is Dehydration in the Elderly?
Dehydration is when someone is losing more water than they are ingesting. Proper body fluid levels are critical to help the body maintain blood pressure, eliminate body waste, regulate temperature and more. In seniors, dehydration can trigger urinary tract infections, dizziness, headaches, confusion, bed sores and , just to name a few.
Seniors lose their sense of thirst with age, so that the normal sensations that might trigger someone to drink regularly are not noticed. Elderly adults may also struggle with swallowing, thanks to partial paralysis, poorly fitting dentures or other physical issue. Bedridden seniors or those with mobility issues may not even be able to get themselves something to drink even if they are thirsty. Medications can also cause dehydration in the elderly.
Foods That Hydrate
It can be overwhelming for elderly adults to try to drink several glasses of water throughout the day. Many family caregivers and senior care assistants find more success in providing nutritious and delicious foods that help hydrate the body. There are many foods that have a high percentage of water weight, some as much as 80 or 90 percent. When included in a balanced diet, they can provide as much as 20 percent of needed body fluids.
Some of the best hydrating food for seniors includes:
- Green pepper
- Coconut water
To make sure an elderly loved one doesn't suffer from dehydration, family caregivers must ensure they drink as often as possible and eats healthy hydrating foods. Elderly adults also need to be encouraged regularly to drink, even if they don’t feel thirsty. This can be as easy as always keeping a water bottle nearby.
Family caregivers can also monitor whether their relative is hydrated by checking the urine color. If it is light, the body is properly hydrated. If it is darker or the elderly person cannot produce urine, it could mean dehydration. When it comes to dehydration in aging adults, preventative measures are easy and effective.
IF YOU OR AN AGING SENIOR ARE CONSIDERING CAREGIVERS IN GARDEN CITY, ID, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS HOME CARE OF BOISE. CALL US: (208) 322-2668.
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