Hydration is a vital part of staying healthy, especially for elderly individuals who can suffer serious complications as a result of dehydration. It can sometimes be difficult to encourage fluid intake in elderly people or to monitor how much they have actually consumed, so keep reading to learn some top tips on how to make sure they stay properly hydrated and in turn, healthy.
The connection between dehydration and ageing
Muscle mass and kidney function tend to decline with age, which diminishes the ability to conserve water. Additionally, the sense of thirst reduces with age, so by the time an older person actually feels thirsty, essential fluids could already be dangerously low. Dementia patients may forget to eat and drink or experience difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), preventing them from getting the fluids they need. Furthermore, elderly people who experience incontinence often purposely refuse or limit fluids in order to avoid accidents, when in fact, avoiding fluids increases the likelihood of incontinence.
Recommended intake for elderly individuals
The general recommendation for adults is about 2 litres of fluid daily, but that amount increases with heat and humidity and can change based on various medications and health conditions.
You should always take into consideration individual conditions which may impact the amount of fluid they need to consume. If, for example, an elderly person is sweating or urinating more frequently, then their fluid intake should become more frequent as well. An elderly person who is suffering from an illness that causes fever, diarrhoea, or vomiting should have their fluid intake carefully monitored.
How to increase fluid intake
Try using water enhancers, opting for pre-flavoured waters, serving fruit juice diluted with water, or making infused waters
Soups and broths can help as they feel more like a meal than a drink
Mix things up with milkshakes, ice lollies or smoothies
Make drinks look more appealing, for example, add lots of ice or fruit slices
Experiment with temperatures to see which is most palatable
The use of specialised drinkware may be necessary for those with swallowing difficulties, tremors, arthritis, motor skill problems, or muscular weakness. Cups with two handles, a no-spill lid, a built-in straw, or ergonomic features may simplify the process and prevent spills.
Raw fruits and vegetables can pack a hydrating punch as well
Foods with high water content
Try adding these fruits to cereals or yoghurts and some of the vegetables to sandwiches or wraps to gradually increase their fluid intake.
Other alternatives to improve hydration
Outside of these suggestions, there are a number of companies doing great things to help improve hydration in our elderly communities.
A great example of this is, Jelly Drops, the tasty sweets made of 95% water. They have proven to be very beneficial for individuals with dementia because not only do they taste great, they are also easier to consume than multiple glasses of water per day. Check out the Jelly Drops website to find out more.
For elderly individuals that have mobility issues, the Hydrant from Hydrate for Health is a hydration system with a drinking tube, designed to give those with limited mobility a way to increase independence by being able to drink whenever they want to, without assistance. Visit Hydrate for Health to learn more about the benefits of using The Hydrant.
Finally, the Handsteady Mug has a rotating handle designed for individuals with limited dexterity or those who experience hand pain, swallowing difficulties, tremors or weakness, making their drinking experience more comfortable. You can learn more about the Handsteady Mug on the website.
By following the tips above, you can ensure that those in your care are consuming enough fluids to remain well-hydrated and avoid any complications caused by dehydration.
To discuss this further and how Aquarate is reinventing hydration in care, speak to one of our experts today by filling out the form below.