The last few years of my mom's life was spent going to the medical center for doctor’s appointments and every four to six months she would end up in the E.R. due to extreme fatigue and confusion. The routine was always the same, sitting in the waiting room for a long period of time and when the doctor finally came to examine my mom, the nurse had already taken her vitals and told us that she was dehydrated, just by touching her skin and looking at her.
The doctor would ask some questions, check her lungs and tell us she was dehydrated and for the nurse to start an IV with saline. As we would sit with her while the IV completed, very soon we saw the color return to her face and her true personality come back, chatting with the hospital staff. The whole process took at least four hours or more each visit.
The obvious question that always came up was, “Mom, are you drinking enough water?” Of course, we already knew the answer was “no” because my mom hated water. She would drink just enough to get her pills down and the rest of the day she would nurse a pot of coffee, which is a diuretic and counterproductive to good hydration.
I am sharing this short story with you because all of this could have been prevented by just staying hydrated and it’s especially important for seniors. According to an article on the Aging Care website, as people get older “the sense of thirst diminishes with age. By the time someone actually feels thirsty, essential fluids could be already be extremely low.”
Also, when seniors are on several medications, this could also be contributing to the inability to retain fluids. The purpose of this post is to help you be aware of the signs of dehydration.
Signs of Severe Dehydration
Little or no urination
Dark or amber-colored urine
Dry skin that stays folded when pinched
Irritability, dizziness, or confusion (continued confusion can be mistaken as dementia)
Low blood pressure
Rapid breathing and heartbeat
Cold hands and feet
Mix it up:
Hydration can come for many different sources. Try using water enhancers, opting for pre-flavored waters, serving a half water half juice mixture, or fruit-infused water. Consider warm chicken, beef or vegetable broth to provide a soothing savory source of fluids and electrolytes. For those fond of sweets, popsicles, milkshakes and smoothies may be more enticing options.
How you serve beverages can have an effect on their willingness and ability to drink them. The serving temperature and drinkware are an important component. Someone with low vision might be able to see a brightly colored cup more easily and therefore drink from it more often. Strongly resistant seniors may like a beverage if it is served in a pretty glass, for example, try serving a smoothie in an old-fashioned soda fountain glass with a piece of fresh fruit on the rim.
Sometimes specialized drinkware may be necessary for those with swallowing difficulties, tremors, arthritis, motor skill problems and muscular weakness.
Here is a list of fruits and vegetables that are hydrating: Cucumber, Tomato, Watermelon, Bell pepper, Grapes, Cantaloupe, Orange, Blueberries, Apple.
If you have some experience with this topic of keeping your beloved senior properly hydrated, we’d LOVE to hear about it. Please share.
For products to help seniors, please visit Golden Valley Medical website at www.goldenvalleymedical.com or give us a call at 909-884-0445. #GoldenValleyMedical #SanBernardino #QualityOfLife #medicalsupplies #seniorcare #seniorhealth #seniorlife
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