June 23 is National Hydration Day. As a family caregiver, this is the ideal time for you to evaluate your parent’s routine and ensure that they are getting the proper amount of hydration to support their health and well-being as they age in place. One of the challenges that you may face when helping your parent get the hydration that they need is when your loved one says that they are not thirsty. This can discourage them from drinking as much as they need, leading to serious dehydration that puts their health at risk.
Studies have shown that elderly people do not experience the same level of thirst signals of younger people. This means that they do not have the same compulsion to re-hydrate, even when their body is very dehydrated. When they do drink, they frequently do not drink enough to fully re-hydrate the body, leaving them still dehydrated. Experts believe that this is caused by the body not coordinating the relay of thirst messages to the brain, causing seniors to not understand that they need to drink or how much they need to drink.
If your elderly loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, you may find that this is even more challenging. This is because a senior who is living with Alzheimer’s disease may not feel the signals of thirst or even if they do feel them, they might not be able to interpret them properly and do not know what they are supposed to do to alleviate those signals. They may believe that they have already had enough to drink or that they symptoms are related to something else. Dehydration can occur extremely quickly in seniors because of their already-lower body water content, which makes it critical that you support your parent in drinking regularly even if they do not feel that they are thirsty.
If you have found that your aging loved one’s challenges and limitations are more than you feel that you can handle effectively, your abilities or availability has changed, or you simply feel that your loved one would benefit from more diversification of support and assistance, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home care for them. A home care provider can step in to fill any care gaps that might exist and ensure that your loved one is getting everything that they need on a schedule that is customized not just to their needs, but also to your needs as their family caregiver. This can help your elderly parent pursue the active, engaged, safe, healthy, and fulfilling quality of life that they desire and deserve, while also easing your caregiver stress and promoting more independence as your senior ages in place. When it comes to helping your senior to maintain better health with ongoing hydration, this care provider can be extremely supportive. This provider can help your parent understand their need for hydration, monitor your parent for symptoms of dehydration, and help them to make good choices that will remind them to get the hydration they need regularly, such as encouraging them to sip water throughout the day.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Sunnyvale, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.