The heat is on in Houston. Summer in Texas is really hot. And seniors are more vulnerable to dehydration.
The truth is as we age many seniors to do feel thirsty. And for other seniors, they may avoid drinking water for fear of having an accident. Incontinence is an issue. And a sensitive one also.
But for my mother in law, she just plain did not like to drink water. We tried everything we could think of. We put different flavors in it. And we offered her juices. But all she wanted was coffee or tea. And that was not good. The caffeine in these drinks can actually make someone become more dehydrated.
Her High Protein Drinks like Boost Weren’t Helping Either.
Coffee, alcohol and high protein drinks all have a diuretic effect on the body. So using Boost or Ensure as replacement meals every day was not helping.
And For Seniors And The Elderly Dehydration is A Big Issue
Dehydration can cause confusion and agitation. Crying for no apparent reason and sleeplessness are also common. In someone with dementia, these signs may be mistaken as dementia behaviors. But left untreated dehydration can land someone in the hospital.
More serious signs include:
- Low blood pressure
- Severe cramping and muscle contractions in limbs, back, and stomach
- Bloated stomach
- Rapid but weak pulse
- Dark colored and strong-smelling urine (indicating a possible urinary tract infection)
Seniors Who Stay Hydrated Reap Rewards Also
These seniors tend to be less constipated, use fewer laxatives and have fewer falls. They may also have a lower risk of bladder cancer, colorectal cancer, and fatal coronary heart disease.
So How Do You Get Mom To Drink More?
Well for some seniors, the answer may be in the foods they eat. If you are having a hard time getting mom to drink water or juice see if she will add fruit to her diet. In fact, most fruits and vegetables have high-water content. Make fruit smoothies and freeze some to have later as a frozen popsicle treat!
Make Drinking A Social Occasion
My Mother in Law was a very social lady. She loved having and going to parties and gatherings. And at most of these events, there were alcoholic drinks. This was how people entertained when she was a young adult.
So We Brought Back The Fun!
We began to have a Mocktail Hour every day before dinner. About 5 PM we would invite neighbors and friends to drop by for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. We had all sorts of finger foods. Mom didn’t eat a lot for the dinner hour anyway so this was perfect. I made sure to have fresh fruits and vegetables on the platter to get a bit more fluids in. Chicken wings and meatballs gave her some protein.
Not only was I getting more fluids into her. I was also helping to bring back her social life.
And We Had Some Fabulous Mocktails
Mojitos, Sangrias, Martini’s and Margaritas were all on the list. Here are 3 of our favorite recipes. The recipes came from Town and Country Magazine
Strawberry Chamomile “Maritini”
1 oz elderflower cordial
.5 oz simple syrup
.5 oz ginger juice
4 oz chamomile
5 mint leaves
Orange and lemon wedge
Muddle strawberry with simple syrup and ginger. Add the elderflower and chamomile and five mint leaves along with the orange and lemon wedge. Add ice and shake before straining into a cocktail coupe.
6-8 mint leaves
A handful of fresh blueberries
2 oz of lime juice
2 oz of simple syrup
Splash of club soda
Lightly muddle blueberries. Add all ingredients and ice in a shaker. Shake and serve.
6 cups of water
.5 cup light-colored honey
5 tbsp dried lavender
1 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
Bring water and honey to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Gently crush the lavender in a mortar and pestle or in a bowl with a meat tenderizer. Add the crushed lavender to the pot then remove it from the heat. Cover, refrigerate, and steep for 2 hours. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Stir in the lemon juice and serve over ice.
At Sycamore Creek Ranch we are always looking for ways to bring back the fun. Our proactive care staff is always looking for innovative ways to engage our residents.