Proper Hydration Information Your Senior Home Care Provider Needs

May 20, 2015

For a resource that many of us take for granted, water does a world of good, particularly for seniors. Doctors credit proper hydration with:

  • helping you feel more energetic. Water helps transport oxygen and nutrients to cells.
  • helping your heart pump blood throughout your body. The heart doesn’t have to work as hard when you’re fully hydrated.
  • keeping stress levels under control. Your brain is 85% water. Deprive it and mood-impacting chemicals get out of balance.
  • preventing muscle cramping and joint pain. Water is body lubrication!
  • easing digestion.

Despite the extensive benefits water provides, many seniors don’t get enough. Doctors recommend all adults drink 8 glasses of water each day. Keeping up with this schedule takes focus and effort for people of all ages. Complicating the water intake for seniors is the fact that their sense of thirst may be diminished. They also may be taking medications that have dehydrating effects (diuretics). With dehydration such an issue, the senior home care provider must know how to prevent it and read its warning signs should it arise.

It’s Important to Take Dehydration Seriously

When feeling a little dizzy due to dehydration as children or even young adults, we fixed the issue quickly with a glass of water. Dehydration isn’t so easily fixed in senior populations.

Research shows that dehydration underlies confusion, falls and serious constipation in our elderly population. More alarming, dehydration all by itself is one of the top ten causes of senior hospitalization.

If you or a loved one exhibits these the following issues, contact a doctor immediately. Signs of dehydration that everyone, including the senior home care provider must understand, include:

  • dizziness
  • increased heart rate
  • nose and mouth dryness
  • constipation
  • skin tenting
  • severe confusion
  • increased tiredness
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting

Tricks for Staying Hydrated

First, make sure you or your loved one understands the seriousness of dehydration and its symptoms. Make it clear that frequent drinking of water, even when not thirsty, prevents hospital visits. Then, increase the odds for regular water intake by buying a variety of flavored waters, seltzer water and low-calorie juices. Consider “infusing” water with cucumbers, pineapple, lemon slices and/or mint. Place slices of these and more in a pitcher of water and leave overnight in the refrigerator. This simple step could make the water slightly more appealing. Finally, buy sports bottles to carry with you when you go out so you can sip during the day.

My Care Match Lets You Choose

When you fill out your profile on My Care Match, you can explain whether you or a loved one is prone to dehydration. The conscientious, compassionate, senior caregiver you end up selecting will most likely have dealt with this issue before. Many of the senior home care providers on My Care Match have training and experience in managing heart disease, COPD, dementia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and more issues common in elderly populations. Just click the link above to get started or contact us with any questions you may have!

About the Author

Doug Breuer is co-founder of and has worked in senior care for the last 9 years for the State of Oregon. From investigating cases of elder abuse to managing the delivery of long term care to residents of Central Oregon, Doug has been involved in all aspects of senior care.

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